I absolutely love barley and have no idea why I don't cook with it more often. This is a greatly adapted recipe from the latest tesco magazine. It's one of those recipes you can use whatever you like. Originally it called for all root veg like turnip parsnip and swede as well as spinach and peas. I replaced the peas with flageolet beans for added protein and the veg with just what I had in the house and felt like. I definitely would have added some baby spinach stirred in at the end until just wilted for colour and nutrients, but didn't have any.
The first time I made this I made the veg stock from 1 oxo cubes and kept the liquid fairly low so it was more stew like. The second time I used marigold vegan stock and added more water to make it more like a soup. Both are very good but I think I preferred it thicker and creamier. You could also cook it down even more and make an orzotto which is risotto made with barley. Any style it is equally delicious and so warming...
2013 Edit - Just made this again and forgot how good it is BUT I didn't realize just how unnecessarily complicated the instructions were for this post! In my defence I was just following the original recipe back then....I've updated it now to make it much easier :-)
• I have made this with both flageolet and red kidney and both work well as would any other mild flavoured bean. Flageolet is probably my favourite.
• I have used white onions, red onions and a combination of both.
• 150g pearl barley
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 120g onion, chopped (1 onion)
• 2 bay leaves
• 60g celery, sliced (2 stalks)
• 150g carrots, sliced and halved (1 large or 2 medium)
• 150g new potatoes, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves of garlic, puréed
• 1 stock cube dissolved in 500 ml hot water
• 60g zucchini, sliced and quartered (1/2 a small)
• half a 400g tin flageolet or red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
• 1 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
• freshly ground black pepper to taste
Wash the barley really well and drain. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the barley give it a good stir, cover and reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Give it a stir now and again.
When there is 10 minutes left for the barley heat the olive oil in a large saucepan then add the onion, carrots, potatoes, celery, bay leaves and a few grinds of black pepper. Fry gently for 5 minutes.
Stir in the garlic then add the stock and stir well. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the barley then add to the pot with the beans, zucchini and parsley. Bring back to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes, reducing to low heat with 5 minutes left. Give it a stir now and again. Check that the potatoes are now cooked, taste and season as need be.
Nutritional Information: per serving
Sat Fat: 1.3g
Sodium: 638mg (depending on brand of stock cube used)