Barley, barley, who's got the barley?

Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 02:40 pm
I've pretty much led a life devoid of barley since I stopped buying canned soup a million years ago. Recently I knuckled down and bought a package of pearled barley and put a bit in some "refrigerator soup" (mixed this and that...), and liked it.

Anyone have any good recipes that taste best with barley instead of, say, rice or noodles?

I just ran across this one in the Observer from Nigel Slater's column of today.
Mmmmmm, dumplings....


I have much success cooking with pearled spelt, and now use it in many instances where I would previously have used pot barley. Spelt cooks more quickly, and is favoured by many people who find wheat difficult to digest. I eat it simply because I like its texture and flavour. If you prefer pot barley it is best soaked for 20 minutes before using. Drain it and add it at the same time as the stock. Serves 4, generously.
500g leeks
a thick slice of butter
2 ribs of celery
3 sprigs of thyme or lemon thyme
120g pearled spelt or pearled barley
450g Jerusalem artichokes
2 medium-sized potatoes
2 bay leaves
a tsp fennel seeds
a litre of vegetable stock
5 or 6 sprigs of parsley

for the dumplings:
250g flour
2 tsp baking powder
95g fridge-cold butter
about 125ml milk
2 heaped tbsp chopped parsley

Wash the leeks thoroughly, making sure that there is no grit trapped between the leaves, then slice them into short pieces about 2cm in length. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan, add the leeks, chopped celery and the leaves of the thyme, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper, then a lid, and leave them to soften for 10-15 minutes. They shouldn't colour. Briefly rinse the spelt or barley.

Scrub and halve or quarter the artichokes, scrub the potatoes and cut into large pieces, then add them to the leeks, celery and thyme leaves. Add the bay leaves and fennel. Pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 25 minutes until the artichokes are tender to the point of a knife.

While the artichokes are cooking, make the dumplings. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Cut the butter into very small dice then rub into the flour with your fingertips as if you were making pastry. Add enough milk to bring the flour and butter to a stiff dough, then stir in the parsley and a little salt. Shape into 12 equal-sized balls.

Roughly chop the parsley sprigs and stir into the artichokes, along with the rinsed spelt and a final seasoning of salt and black pepper. Lower the dumplings on to the surface of the stew and cover with a lid. Cook for a further 25 minutes until the dumplings have puffed up and the spelt is tender.

Then there is the matter of jerusalem artichokes. I've never bought them..
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Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 02:42 pm
I copied this joefromchicago soup recipe from the soup thread. I've made it a couple times and really like it.


From the internet. This is about the only recipe that I make on a regular basis that uses allspice -- I'm usually not a big fan of it, but it tastes great in this soup.

3 tb vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
3/4 cup pearl barley
6 cups chicken broth
1 sm bay leaf
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 c diced smoked ham
3 tb butter
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
3 tsp lemon juice
1 tb fresh parsley leaves, minced

Heat oil and saute onions, celery, and carrots until softened, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium, stir in the garlic and saute for one more minute. Add the barley, broth, bay leaf, and allspice. Bring to a boil. Simmer, covered, for about one hour, or until the barley is tender. (The soup may be prepared in advance to this point.)

Stir the ham into the piping hot soup and let simmer while you prepare the mushrooms. Heat the butter in a small skillet, add the mushrooms and lemon juice, and stir-cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley. Add the mushroom mixture to the soup and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Discard the bay leaf. Season the soup with salt and freshly- ground pepper to taste. Ladle into warmed bowls and serve immediately.
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 02:48 pm
That sounds good, I like ham in soup too. Plus the mushrooms.. a whole different set of tastes than the Slater recipe.

There were several things new to me in that Slater recipe (I mean besides having to convert things from grams..). For example, what is pot barley?

What is this business about grease proof paper when you are sauteing with a lid on the pan? Is that waxed paper?
Anyone here cook with spelt?
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 02:49 pm
I think the purpose of the paper is to retain all of the steam. I've done that when making rice.

JPB, I use nutmeg a lot in creamy soups. Not allspice, although I think the flavors are similar.
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 02:54 pm
Swimp, that makes sense. Some of my pots have tighter lids than others.
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 05:39 pm
Well! Time for me to post some recipes, none of which I've tried, to see if any posters here are familiar with the dishes and like them or shun them or similar dishes, and maybe why so. These are all from barleyfoods.com -

Well, here's one I'm figuring I could like or hate, never having thought of barley in this kind of dish..

Orange Barley Pilaf and Ham Sauté
I'd probably skip it, but am I wrong?

Another one, that I am unfairly not going to try, and not because of the barley -
Baked Chicken with Apples and Barley

I like chicken supremes, used to make them from a recipe, I think, in the old Silver Palette, but I just don't like the taste of those skinned grocery store chicken breasts, not to mention qualms about their derivation. So.. I might like this with actual good sourced chicken breasts, roasted.

Barley Lentil Soup -
I could riff with that. (Haven't used Worcestershire* in decades, and despise tomato paste)
* I can do anchovies on my own -
quoting about.com - The original recipe is closely guarded, but basically consists of anchovies layered in brine, tamarinds in molasses, garlic in vinegar, chilies, cloves, shallots, and sugar.

Instead of being snarly, I might like that basic idea.

And then, Barley Albondigas..


Go ahead and argue, please, and/or post more recipes.

There was one on greek salad that I didn't check..

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Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 05:55 pm
Substitute the rice for barley in your favourite risotto recipes.
I don't follow a recipe per se... but I start with some sauted onions or shallots in butter, add the barley, some wine and then chicken stock. It's lovely.
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 06:01 pm
So, barley risotto? I'll play with that..
Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 06:04 pm
I love a good risotto. Mr B... not so much. I wonder if he'd like a barley risotto better? It may have a bit more texture. hmmmm......
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Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 06:05 pm
i usually only use barley in beef stew/soup

might have to rethink that decision
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Reply Sun 3 Jan, 2010 06:10 pm
I believe this recipe has "done the rounds" of A2K since it was first posted, JPB. Quite an endorsement. It must be very good! Very Happy

Interesting & inspiring thread, osso. I'll be picking up some ideas for my winter cooking here, I'm certain.
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Reply Wed 25 Jan, 2023 08:11 am
Kicking this up in Jo's memory and the fact that I wanted to make Joe's ham and barley soup this week. It took me a while to find it, but the A2K search forums option worked in the end.
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