The rich, nutlike flavor and appealing chewy consistency of barley is very satisfying. However, apart from putting it in soup, I didn’t know how to serve it . . . with gravy? plain? I decided to experiment with making a type of pilaf, which we love. Use whatever veggies you like or have on hand; the amounts here are rough estimates since they are interchangeable with leeks, bell peppers, fennel, etc.
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 C. (300 g) uncooked barley, brown rice, farro, or bulgur
- 2 1/2 C. (625 ml) water or broth
- 2-4 T. olive oil (divided)
- 1 C. (100-150 g) coarsely chopped almonds, walnuts, or pecans
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 8-10 C. of chopped, raw vegetables such as: celery, carrot, zucchini, summer squash, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower, fennel, mushrooms
1. Cook barley in a saucepan with salted water for approximately 45 minutes. (If you soak the barley for 8 hours, you can reduce the cooking time to about 15 minutes.) Set aside. The barley can be cooked the day before making the pilaf.
2. Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the nuts until lightly browned. Set aside.
3. In the same skillet, using 2-3 T. olive oil, sauté the vegetables of your choice until tender. You may want to do this in several batches, putting similar types together.
4. Stir the cooked barley and nuts into the vegetable mixture and heat through before serving.
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