Lucky timing, rain hit the morning after the Valley Performing Arts Center black tie opening. My little satin pumps woulda been ruined! There I was, in line for the potty with Calista Flockhart; Harrison Ford was waiting out in the hall. I people-watched next to Doris Roberts. Moved my tootsies so Beau Bridges could scoot down the row. Boogied on the dance floor aside “Bart Simpson” voice Nancy Cartwright. All supporters of the new venue. But playing princess is now over; back to real, which includes cooking dinner. I decided to make White Pepper Chicken Barley Soup because it’s raining.
Have you tried my Beef, Mushroom & Barley Rosemary Soup yet? Friend Cathi told me she’s made it several times since I published it. We both share a love for the crockpot. That beef soup is hearty and robust; this time I re-concocted the concept to be lighter by going with chicken.
BUT WAIT… while recently in India, eating buckets of soup because the weather was so frickin’ freezing, I noticed their use of heavy doses of white pepper. I liked that flavor. So, this soup is in that direction. Which then inspired me to show off the Orange Indian Tie-Dye Scarf With Bangles (in my soup photo) I bought for my sister Gretchen. And then wore to the Taj Mahal. And then decided to keep. Gretch now gets a black one.
White Pepper Chicken Barley Soup
- 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 lb. sliced button mushrooms
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
- 1 cup uncooked pearl barley
- 2 cups homemade chicken stock (or 1 14 oz. can)
- 1 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- Salt and additional white pepper to taste
- Fresh snipped chives for garnish, if desired
In a 12 cup crockpot, put all ingredients except salt. Fill with water to 1 inch below the rim. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 3 to 4, or until the barley is tender. Remove the chicken and shred using two forks, put back into the soup. Add salt and more white pepper to taste. Makes 12 cups.