A Healthy Chicken Stew

Chicken and Barley Stew
Chicken and Barley Stew

Like many people, I start each New Year planning to eat more healthfully. I don’t always succeed, but I continue to try.

When a new issue of a food magazine arrives in my mailbox, I’ll sit and flip through the pages usually thinking to myself–I must try this recipe, but then don’t. However, in the case of the March 2012 issue of Food and Wine, I did. The theme was healthy eating and the pages were crammed full with  recipes using fresh fruit and veggies, high fiber grains and lots of fish and chicken. The Chicken and Barley Stew recipe caught my eye. The dish was an easy one-pot meal, inexpensive and sounded yummy. I made it and can honestly claim it tasted really satisfying. The squeeze of fresh lemon really adds some zing.

Therefore, I share and recommend the recipe from Food and Wine below:

Chicken and Barley Stew with Dill and Lemon

Makes 6 Servings (I made just half the recipe without any problems.)


  • 1/2 cup all- purpose flour
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breasts cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup oil plus 1 tablespoon (I used olive)
  • 2 carrots, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 large leek. white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 3/4 cup pearled barley
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill  (I didn’t have any)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (1 1/2 ounces)


  1. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour with 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.  Dredge the chicken in the flour, shake off the excess.
  2. In a medium enameled cast-iron casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. 
  3. Add half of the chicken and cook over moderately high hear until golden, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Brown the remaining chicken in 2 more tablespoons of the oil.
  5. Pour off the fat.
  6. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and the carrots to the casserole and cook over moderate heat for 3 minutes.
  7. Add the celery, leek and garlic and cook until starting to soften, 2 minutes.
  8. Add a large pinch of salt and pepper and the barley.
  9. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until the barley starts to toast, 1 minute.
  10. Add the stock and water and bring to a boil.
  11. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the barley is almost tender, about 20 minutes.
  12. Return the chicken to the stew; cover and simmer until cooked through and the stew has thickened, about 10 minutes.
  13. Stir in the dill and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
  14. Spoon the stew into bowls, sprinkle with the tarragon and cheese.

One serving: 508 calories, 8 grams far, 58 grams car, 10 grams fiber and 50 grams protein.

Wine Pairing suggestion : Chenin Blanc

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