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Warm Barley Chicken and Fig Salad
Warm Barley Chicken and Fig Salad Meat
makes 6-8 servings


6 cups water
1 medium onion, quartered
1 bunch fresh lemon thyme
1 chili or other spicy chili, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 tablespoon ground pepper
2 teaspoon minced garlic
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup pearl barley
4 scallions, thinly sliced diagonally
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound fresh figs, quartered


Bring water, onion, thyme, chili, pepper, and garlic to a gentle simmer in a medium pot. Add the chicken, and simmer until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, and let cool slightly. Bring poaching liquid to a boil, and cook until reduced to 3 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a medium saucepan and discard the solids. Bring liquid to a boil. Add barley, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, and let cool. Shred chicken into bite-size pieces. Toss with barley, scallions, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Gently stir in figs, and serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.