Seasoned Barley

Expectations:

I love barley — it’s nutty flavor and hearty texture makes it work well with everything from fish to short ribs!  It’s also a healthy grain and seasoning the water when I cook it deepens the flavor and for the kids I can ‘dress’ it up with chia seeds or shredded cheese.   I make barley on the weekends due to it’s longer cooking time, but it’s easy to set up to cook while you’re roasting a chicken or something else is in the oven or slow cooker.  Total time about 45 minutes.  6 – 8 servings.

Ingredients:

1 cup of pearled barley

I add about 3 cups of water and then drain the barley at the end. It absorbs a bit more water when cooking than other grains.

For flavoring the cooking water (optional):

  • 1 garlic clove (peeled, uncut)
  • 1 dried or fresh chili pepper (uncut) Note: it will not make the barley spicy, just add flavor.
  • Generous (about 1 tbsp.) shake of turmeric
  • Generous (about 2 tsp. shake of cumin)
  • Salt (about  2 – 2 1/2 tsp — to accommodate for the extra water.)
  • 1 tbsp. of Olive Oil

Steps to Put This On Your Table:

  • Bring (flavored water or plain water with salt & olive oil) to boil in a small but tall saucepan or stockpot (using high heat).
  • Pour the barley (very slowly, it will bubble due to the salt) into the boiling water.
  • Stir the mixture very slowly, for about 30 seconds.
  • Bring back to a boil (about another minute).  Then cover the pan, reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 38 – 40 minutes.  There will still be water at the top — before you drain the water, to make sure it’s done test the barley to make sure it’s firm but fluffy in texture & easy to chew.
  • Carefully drain the water from the barley and discard the pepper & garlic clove.  If you’re not using it right away cover the pan with a clean kitchen towel and then put the top back on to keep warm.

Serve & enjoy!  Leftovers can be saved in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 or 3 days, reheat over low heat with about a ¼ cup of water (or broth).

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