Barley’s a pretty versatile whole grain food, and a healthy ingredient in soups, stews, casseroles, salads and stir-fry, besides eating it as a hot cereal, or using it as a baking ingredient for cookies, muffins and breads.
Pearl barley makes a great addition to soup. If you’ve ever eaten Campbell’s Vegetable Beef Soup, you’ve eaten some of those little white balls. You can make your own version at home, and it’s really not that hard. Just chunk all the ingredients in a crockpot, let it simmer, and there you have it! Make a big batch, and freeze the leftovers.
While looking for other recipes, I came across this recipe at Kalyn’s Kitchen:
Barley with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms
Adapted by Kaylyn from “The Best Recipes in the World by Mark Bittman” cookbook
5 ounces (or more) dried porcini mushrooms
8 ounces sliced white or portabella mushrooms
1 1/2 cups Pearled Barley
3 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 cup mushroom soaking liquid, reduced to 1/2 cup
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. onion powder
2 T butter
2 T extra virgin olive oil
Put dried porcini on cutting board and coarsely chop with chef’s knife, then place them in bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over. Let stand 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain mushrooms (a coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth would work for this) catching liquid. Boil mushroom liquid to reduce to 1/2 cup.
Heat 1 T butter and 1 T olive oil in dutch oven type pan. Add barley and saute 3-5 minutes, until barley is slightly toasted and well coated with oil. Add stock, reduced mushroom juice, thyme, and onion powder, bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 30-35 minutes. Add more liquid and cook longer if needed to get the barley to the degree of tenderness you want.
When barley is tender and all liquid is absorbed, turn off heat. In very large deep frying pan, heat remaining butter and olive oil. Saute fresh mushrooms 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are softened. Add porcini mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes more, then stir in barley and heat through. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.
I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but hope to soon. If you try it out, let me know how you like it!
For more recipes, check out the Barley Foods website, or do a Google search.