Guest Post: Smothered Chicken and Barley

Hi everyone, it’s Spiceaholic from Spice’s Bites!

I’ve been reading Brandi’s blog for a long time now and love reading about the great dishes she comes up with.  I love trying out new recipes and sharing them with my readers, so I was very excited to do a guest post here and to be able to share a great recipe I just discovered.  This is a recipe I’ve seen floating around on the Weight Watchers message boards and lots of online recipe sites, but it is originally from Cooking Light.  True to form, I couldn’t leave it alone and tweaked it, and have indicated my changes.

Smothered Chicken and Barley

1 tsp. ground cumin (I used 1 tbsp.)
3/4 tsp. chili powder (double)
1/2 tsp. salt (double)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. dried mint flakes  (omitted)
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (1 tsp.)
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes  ( 1 tsp.)
6 chicken thighs  (skinless)
1/2 tsp. canola oil  (1 tbsp.)
1 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped red pepper  (subbed green pepper)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 cups pearl barley (1 1/3 cup quick-cooking barley)
1 14 1/2 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
6 tbsp chopped green onions

Combine first 7 ingredients in small bowl, rub chicken with half of spice mixture.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over med-high heat. Add chicken, cook 1 min on each side or until browned. Remove from pan.

Recoat skillet with spray, add chopped onion, bell pepper, and soy sauce. Cook over med-high heat 3 minutes until vegetables are lightly browned.

Add broth, barley, tomatoes, and remaining spice mixture. Stir well. ** Since I was using quick-cooking barley I didn’t add it at this time

Add chicken to skillet, nestling thighs into vegetable mixture.

Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 55 minutes or until chicken is done. **I let the chicken cook for 30 minutes, then added the barley and cooked everything together for 15 minutes.

Let stand 15 minutes.  Sprinkle with green onions before serving.

This recipe was so good! I don’t know why I waited so long to give it a try.  I’ve never cooked with barley before, but it went really well with the chicken and the gravy and was a great change to my usual rice or couscous.

Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did.  Thanks Brandi for letting me share with your readers!

Note from Brandi:  I’ve actually made this recipe before, too, and we loved it! The spices are great in this dish, and I love finding new ways to use quick cooking barley. Thanks Spice! :)


  1. Yum! I used to make that all the time. I need to make it again and make sub some brown rice for the barley since I can’t eat gluten. Thanks for bringing this one to the surface again :D

  2. Oh yum! I love barley and will be adding this to my repetoire!

  3. wow! that looks delicious and super flavorful! adding barley is such a good idea!

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  5. This looks delicious! I love anything with barley.

  6. wow – this looks like such a hearty and delicious meal, I just bookmarked it, thank you!!

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