Beef, Barley & Black Eye Pea Soup, with a side of Curried Chicken Salad

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Last week I decided to make a big pot of soup. And I almost succeeded. It wasn't as soupy as I had envisioned, but this is my blog, so I'm calling it soup.

I had several ingredients I wanted to use: barley, black eye peas, and some beef from my freezer. I combined all these in my dutch oven, along with some finely chopped onion, garlic, curry powder, salt, pepper and beef stock. And out came a whole lot of deliciousness. Since there's no real recipe here, you can pretty much add any other ingredient you might want our of your pantry/freezer. Just make sure you have plenty of liquid if you want to call this a soup.

I also tried a brand new recipe, a curried chicken salad, which I learned while running on the new and totally motivating treadmills that were purchased at my YMCA. These treadmills, with built in cable tv, have got me back to the gym, and are teaching me new recipes, gossip about celebrities, and house-purchasing tips. Although I didn't follow the recipe completely, below is the official one from Ina Garten. And my modifications are at the bottom.

Curried Chicken Salad
2002, Barefoot Contessa
3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone-in, skin-on
Olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good mayonnaise
1/3 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup mango chutney
3 tablespoons curry powder
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 large stalks)
1/4 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts (2 scallions)
1/4 cup raisins
1 cup whole roasted, salted cashews
1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just cooked. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and dice the chicken into large bite-size pieces.

3) For the dressing, combine the mayonnaise, wine, chutney, curry powder, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until smooth.
4) Combine the chicken with enough dressing to moisten well. Add the celery, scallions, and raisins, and mix well. Refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend. Add the cashews and serve at room temperature.

KK's modifications:
- I hate cashews. So these were omitted.
- The husband didn't know what it meant to bake the chicken breasts. And I had no time to give him instructions on the phone at work. So he grilled them. Not bad. But, baked would have been better. Avoid grilling, or make sure whoever is helping with the dish knows how to bake some chicken.
- The above recipe makes a lot of dressing. A lot. I did probably 1/3 of it and it was plenty. So I suggest if you do follow the recipe as is, you add a little of the dressing at a time, and save the rest for other salads.

This was a really nice salad. Sweet and flavorful. And the husband loved it. This was a total surprise, even to him. But that Barefoot Contessa has some classy recipes. And I can't wait to see more of them while I run at the Y.

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