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Chicken Barley Soup with Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs

There are many reasons why we love autumn...

Colorful leaves. Local orchard trees heavy with apples. Cozy cardigans. Comfy booties. Pumpkin everything. And SOUPS!

We love soups of every variety -- chunky soups, noodle soups, creamy soups, brothy soups, stews, and everything in between. Like many things we love and write about, the possibilities are endless. You can spend half an hour on a soup or you can spend literal days on a soup.

If we're honest, we're really into the concept of having both quality and simplicity. We love the complexity of a several-days-long soup but with the convenience of a meal that comes together in under 60 minutes. That's a big part of the "why" behind our dry soup mixes (and many of our lovingly made pantry staples).

This week we're talking about our Warming Chicken Barley Soup Mix. Vegetarian until you add chicken, it's made with barley (a fiber rich grain), mushrooms (a great source of plant protein), and lentils (another great source of plant protein and fiber). Each bag of mix makes enough for the whole family plus leftovers. This hearty, warming, generously seasoned meal comes together in about 40 minutes with minimal additions -- just add carrots, chicken breast, and water.

Of course, you're not limited to just adding carrots and chicken. We've seen a variety of customizations over the years. Today, we're sharing one of our own riffs on our Warming Chicken Barley Soup. This version adds extra fresh veggies and substitutes crispy baked chicken thighs for the usual cooked chicken breast.

Read on for more!

Spruced Up Warming Chicken Barley Soup

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 45 minutes Yields: Approximately 8 servings

1 bag Christina Maser Co. Chicken Barley Soup Mix

3 large carrots, diced 

8-12 oz. fresh or frozen green beans, cleaned & chopped

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

Handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped

Preparation

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a 9" x 13" baking dish with a light brush of olive oil or cooking spray.

2. Combine the salt, pepper, and smoked paprika in a small bowl.

3. Brush the chicken thighs with olive oil. Sprinkle both sides of the chicken thighs with spice mix. Evenly space chicken in baking dish.

4. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the internal temperature measures 165 degrees on a reliable meat thermometer.

5. Meanwhile, make the soup.

6. Add entire soup mix, carrots, fresh green beans, and water to a large dutch oven.

7. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 40 minutes or until the lentils, barley, and carrots are tender. Add the green beans when about 15 minutes remain on the timer.

8. Remove from heat and serve. Top each bowl of soup with one chicken thigh and a few sprinkles of parsley. Enjoy!

Storing leftovers: Allow any leftovers to cool completely before storing in airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 30 days.

Tried our Spruced Up Warming Chicken Barley Soup recipe? Leave a comment below letting us know how it went or tag us in your photos on Instagram at @christina_maser_co.

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