Chicken, barley and vegetable soup


Makes 4 servings

With "quick-cooking" barley, this classic, old-fashioned soup can easily be ready to serve in 15 minutes.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 carrots, cut into 1/8-inch slices

1 can (49 ounces) fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

8 ounces boneless skinless split chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch by ½-inch strips

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced (including green tops)

½ cup quick-cooking pearled barley

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

½ teaspoon pepper, or to taste


Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Add the chicken broth; increase the heat to high. When the broth comes to a boil, stir in the remaining ingredients. When the liquid returns to a boil, reduce the heat to medium; cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the barley is tender.

Remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.