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.