Monday, December 8, 2014

Braised Barley and Vegetables (LS)

I had never made barley in my life before trying this recipe, so this was definitely an experiment for my family. In fact, I don't recall ever EATING barley in my life. I'm sure I've had it in a soup or something, but I'd never really had it to where I remembered it. I had no idea what it would be like, or how well I would make it. Still, it sounded tasty, looked simple, and easily could be a low sodium dish.

I don't have a kitchen scale, so I just eye-balled it. I also had no idea how much 8 ounces of cut rutabaga and 8 ounces of cut potatoes would look like. In fact, I'm most certain that I didn't have the "correct" amounts of them in there. This dish claiming to serve 4 people should fit in my 3QT pan, so I had a rough idea. The pan was to the brim, so I definitely went with the larger pan the second time around.

The meal turned out well. Inexpensive, easy prep (just chopping a few things), super easy to make, and hubby even said, "...this isn't what I expected. It's DELICIOUS, just not what I expected!" before I even had one bite.

It was delicious, actually. Very delicious. I was surprised, as there wasn't really any spice in it to flavour it, but it was a good flavour. It would be good with cut up mushrooms in there, too. If you like mushrooms, that is. It was so delicious, actually, that both children LOVED it!

Pre-cooked Bacon (optional!)
This is a FABULOUS cold-weather meal.It would be great accompanying a variety of meats, though the second time around I put in 4 slices of (finely crumbled, cooked) bacon. I used the Aldi uncured bacon brand "Simply Truth", which has 65mg/slice. This is the lowest sodium bacon I have found anywhere. There was no salt added to the veggie stock since I make my own, so the overall sodium for this entire dish was roughly 300mg, 560mg with the added bacon. Keep in mind that the sodium content will be altered by using store-bought stock, and by how much of particular vegetables you add. I googled the nutritional information for each veggie I used to get a rough idea of the sodium content they added. 

  • I only had a 2 cup pyrex cup, so I guesstimated the additional 1/2 cup of water, covered with plastic wrap (and a rubberband to secure it), and left over night in the fridge
  • Lacking a kitchen scale, I added half of a rutabaga and only 2 (red) potatoes. I also added 3 ribs of celery and 3 carrots.
  • I sprinkled in a tiny bit of some pink Himalayan sea salt and ground some fresh pepper into the pan (it was a peppercorn medley and not just black pepper), brought it to a boil, then set the stove to 3 for a simmer.
  • I seriously had no idea how to tell if barley was done, so I just set the timer and hoped for the best. Worked out great. Timer went off, turned off the burner and moved the pan from the heat (like I do for other things that need to lose their liquid or absorb/thicken).
  • I expected this, originally, to feed all 4 of us with a bit left over for someone for lunch since youngest isn't going to eat a full serving.... we have enough for ALL Of us to have left overs, and then even one or two more servings after that.It goes a long way!
  • For extra flavour, you can soak your barley in stock instead (all the water the barley is with gets dumped into the dish anyway)

This is another recipe out of my Russian, German & Polish Food & Cookingcookbook.

Braised Barley and Vegetables 
Serves 4
  • 1 cup pearl or barley
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced
  • 2 carrots, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 8 ounces rutabaga or turnip, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 8 ounces potatoes, cut into 3/4" cubes
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • celery leaves, to garnish
1) Put the barley in a measuring cup and add water to reach the 2 1/2 cup mark. Let soak in a cool place for at least 4 hours or, preferably, overnight. (Below is when I first put it in to soak that morning, and when I took it out to use that afternoon)

2) Heat the oil in a large pan and saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add the sliced celery and carrots and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is starting to brown.

3) Add the barley and its soaking liquid to the pan. Then add the rutabaga or turnip, potato and stock to the barley. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and cover the pan.

4) Simmer for 40 minutes, or until most of the stock has been absorbed and the barley is tender. Stir occasionally towards the end of cooking to prevent the barley from sticking to the base of the pan. Serve, garnished with celery leaves.

Disclaimer: Thoughts of Fluff was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own and may differ from your own. Post contains affiliate links.

1 comment:

  1. I want to try this recipe while it's still a bit cold in California. I really want to try it because I've never tried rutabaga or barley before so I guess I'm missing out.