I’ve mentioned my affinity for soups before, but have I ever mentioned my bond with my crockpot? Some days it’s my lifeline. Summer and I have a love/hate relationship. I hate being hot, but I love to cook. I hate that using the oven, even the stove top in summer and spring, makes my kitchen feel like a sauna. I can’t stand to be hot while cooking. In the summer, the crockpot and I are best friends. I’m talking bosom buds. It helps me feed my family the lovingly prepared, delectable food we all like, without me sweating up a storm as I slave away. Did I mention I’m also to cheap to turn up my air conditioner just because I’m hot in the kitchen? No, I don’t think I did. But, I am. This recipe has been adapted from 365 Days of Slow Cooking and it’s a winner. It’s also a must when I’m craving soup in the summer. Same great taste, but noticeably less heat. When I first tried it, I honestly couldn’t believe I’d never seen something like it in an Italian restaurant somewhere before. Then again, without this recipe, I don’t think it would have occurred to me to try pesto in a soup. Lesson learned.
Crockpot Chicken And Pesto Soup
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 2 carrots, shredded and finely diced
- 2-3 ribs of celery, finely diced
- 1 tbsp dried, chopped onion
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed or frozen
- 1/2 cup pearl barley (not quick cooking)
- 1 1/2 cups milk, room temperature (you can sub half/half or even cream for a richer soup)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/2 of a zucchini, shredded, optional
- Add broth, carrot, celery, onion, oregano, garlic, and zucchini (if using) to the crockpot. Stir.
- Add in chicken breasts.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through and the barley is soft and chewy.
- Remove chicken to a plate. Shred or dice.
- Put the shredded, or diced, chicken back into the crockpot.
- Stir in the milk, parmesan, and pesto.
- Cook for another ten minutes on HIGH.
- Ladle into bowls and garnish with additional parmesan or pesto, as desired.