This month, I was sent something I have never cooked with, Pearl Barley ! Since it is getting colder, I am naturally finding more comfort in dishes like these to keep me cozy. In the Greek community, pearl barley is actually quite popular, but not in the way I have used it. The cooked pearl barley gets mixed up with sesame seeds, almonds, sultanas and pomegranate seeds to make a mixture called ‘Koliva’ and is part of a religious memorial ceremonies. Given the nature of how someone in my family might use this ingredient, my Grandma looked very suspicious when I started adding garlic and thyme to a saucepan in which I was preparing the pearl barley.
I really enjoyed this recipe, and on the first day I are it as a risotto with some peppery rocket and spinach leaves and on the following day I used the leftovers to buff up a salad which made dinner very easy indeed.
- 3 peeled carrots, chopped in to chunks
- 2 handfuls of mushrooms of choice, sliced ( I used standard white)
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (one for the veg, two for the pearl barley)
- 350g Pearl barley
- 1 large red onion, chopped
- 3 tsp dried thyme (you can use fresh if you have it)
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 3 tsp coconut oil (1 melted for the veg, 2 for the pearl barley)
- 1.25 litres vegetable stock (hot)
- a handful of chopped fresh coriander, for serving
- 4 handfuls of rocket and spinach leaves
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Put the carrots, mushrooms, one clove of chopped garlic, melted tsp of coconut oil and turmeric in a baking tin, add any desired seasoning and mix. This should need to be in the oven for about 30 minutes. After 15 minutes, cover with foil. Turn the oven off at 30 minutes and leave the vegetables in the oven until the pearl barley is cooked.
- While the veggies are cooking, start with the pearl barley. Heat the remaining 2 tea spoons of coconut oil in a pan on a medium heat. Add the chopped garlic and onion and let cook through for a few minutes.
- Add the pearl barley to the pan then the thyme and stir in.
- Add enough of the stock to the pan to cover the pearl barley and stir occasionally until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue to repeat until you have used up all the stock. It should take approximately 35-40 minutes for you to finish cooking the pearl barley
- When the pearl barley is cooked and you have used all of your stock, remove the veggies from the oven and stir in all the contents from the baking tin, including any juice to the pearl barley.
- Serve the dish, sprinkling fresh parsley, rocket and spinach leaves on each portion as you serve
This dish shocked me, I loved the texture of the pearl barley and the flavour of the thyme surprised me. If you want, you can add cheese on serving. You can also add salt if you would prefer, but I feel the vegetable stock does what it needs to. Like I said, if you have any left over you can add it to a salad or soup to bump it up! I added turmeric into this recipe because I am trying to incorporate more into my diet for the added health benefits, so again if you would rather not use turmeric, feel free to adjust the recipe to your tastes!
Thank you for reading, and thank you to Cypressa for the pearl barley!
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