I've decided that fresh cilantro and lime juice are the secret weapons of Mexican/Southwestern cooking. I took a recipe, which was really good, added cilantro and lime and POW! Amazing soup. I found this in a Taste of Home email and tweaked it a bit. Just so you know, this makes a pretty big pot of soup. We'll be eating it for a couple of days :) It's also low in fat and probably calories, too. (Depending on how much sour cream and cheese you put in your bowl.) And hello, it's got BARLEY.
Southwestern Chicken and Barley Soup
1 c chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
1 T oil
3 c water
1 15-oz can whole kernel corn, drained
1 15-oz can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can tomato sauce (or two small ones)
1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 14.5-oz can chicken broth
1/2 c pearl barley (uncooked)
1 4-oz can chopped green chilies, drained
1 T chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
3 c shredded or cubed cooked chicken
1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro
juice from 1 small lime or 1/2 large lime (about 2-3 T)
shredded cheddar cheese
In a large soup pot (4-5 qts) saute onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the next 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Stir in the chicken and cook for 15 more minutes or until barley is tender. Stir in cilantro and lime just before serving.
To serve, ladle into bowls and top with sour cream and shredded cheese.
1. For the chicken, I took 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thawed them. I sprinkled them with salt, pepper, and oregano, then placed them under the broiler in my oven while the soup was cooking. After they were cooked, I let them rest for 5 minutes, then shredded them into big chunks with a couple of forks.