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Indian-Spiced Chicken and Barley


This is a great dish for Sunday dinner. It is quite easy to make, and the lightly spiced sauce is delectable.

  1. 3 lbs skinless bone-in chicken thighs 1.5 kg (about 12 thighs)
  2. 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 45 ml
  3. 1 tsp ground turmeric 5 ml
  4. 1 tbsp vegetable oil 15 ml
  5. 2 onions, finely chopped
  6. 4 stalks celery, diced
  7. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1 tbsp minced gingerroot 15 ml
  9. 1 tbsp ground cumin 15 ml
  10. 2 tsp ground coriander 10 ml
  11. 2 cardamom pods, split
  12. 1⁄2 tsp salt 2 ml
  13. 1 cup barley, drained and rinsed 250 ml (see tip, opposite)
  14. 1 cup Chicken Stock (page 42) or 250 ml ready-to-use chicken broth
  15. 1 can (28 oz/796 ml) diced tomatoes, with juice
  16. 1 long red or green chile pepper, finely chopped (or ½ tsp / 2 ml cayenne pepper)
  17. 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt 250 ml
  18. Fresh cilantro sprigs (optional)
  1. Sprinkle chicken evenly with lemon juice and turmeric and arrange over bottom of a medium to large (31⁄2- to 5-quart) slow cooker.
  2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and celery and cook, stirring, until celery is softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add cumin, coriander, cardamom and salt and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add barley and toss to coat. Add stock and tomatoes and bring to a rapid boil. (Chicken and cooled vegetable mixture can be refrigerated separately for up to 2 days at this point.)
  3. Transfer vegetable mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork.
  4. In a small bowl, combine chile pepper and yogurt. Stir into slow cooker. Cover and cook on High for 20 minutes, until flavors meld. To serve, ladle into warm bowls and garnish with cilantro sprigs (if using).
  5. Serves 6.
  1. Use the variety of barley you prefer — pearled, pot or whole. Whole (also known as hulled) barley is the most nutritious form of the grain. You could also make this dish using an equal quantity of wheat, spelt or Kamut berries.
  2. If you choose to halve this recipe, use a small (2- to 3-quart) slow cooker.
The Best of Bridge

This recipe is available in the book Best of Bridge Home Cooking.