Thursday, January 8, 2015

Crockpot Balsamic Chicken and Barley

This recipe started with one a friend shared on Facebook. I downsized it and altered the ingredients slightly. 

Ingredients - serves 3 to 4
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
springs of fresh herbs or ¼ teaspoon each dried thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano - I used dried herbs, as that is what I had on hand.
½ onion, thinly sliced
2 - 3 peeled garlic cloves, whole
bell peppers (optional), cut into chunks - I used red, orange, and green bell peppers.
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dry sherry
½ - ¾ cup water
scant ½ cup pearl barley
6 pitted kalamata olives - I settled for black olives this time. I will use kalamata olives next time!
¼ cup low fat crumbled feta cheese - The photo below is without the cheese.

Pour the olive oil into the bottom of the crockpot. Place the chicken breasts into the crockpot. Season with salt and pepper. Top each breast with Italian herbs, sliced onion, garlic cloves, and bell peppers, if using. If you prefer crisper vegetables, wait to add the peppers with the barely. I added some peppers at the start and a few more with the barley.

Combine vinegar, tomatoes, tomato paste, cooking sherry, and water; gently pour sauce around chicken. Cook on high for about 3 hours.

Remove chicken breasts and set aside. Stir barley into tomato sauce in crockpot. Slice chicken into thick slices or cut into large chunks, and place back atop the barley/tomato mixture. Top with olives. Cook until barley is done, about 1 hour more. Check after 30 minutes and add water, if needed. Stir in feta cheese before serving.