Saturday, January 3, 2009

Plagiarizing Myself

I started out posting some recipes on my Facebook page and eventually decided to start this here blog. I still don't know what I'm doing here, really. But, if I must say so myself, I do know my way around the kitchen. Here's a recipe I created last Fall in an effort to use some things in the pantry (I stumbled upon a bag of organic pearl barley that I must have bought while in a daze because I honestly didn't remember purchasing it) and in desperation for a side-dish for dinner one night.

For me, side dishes (or main dishes) with a high fiber content are great - especially on Weight Watchers (note to self: now there's a source of blog posts!). Imagine my delight to learn that a cup of cooked pearl barley has only 193 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber! It also delivers 12% of the RDA of iron and is a great source of Niacin, Manganese and Selenium.*

I scrounged around the fridge and came up with this recipe. It will work with any variety of vegetables and aromatics and is incredibly easy to make. Leftovers are delicious added to a leafy green salad.

Mushroom Barley Pilaf
Yields 4 very generous side servings

1 generous TBS olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
5 or 6 large button mushrooms, halved then thinly sliced
3/4 cup pearl barley
1 3/4 cup chicken stock (preferably low sodium or sodium free so you can control the seasoning yourself)
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh chives (for garnish)

  • Heat the oil over high heat in a pot large enough to accommodate the finished product (3 quarts is ample).
  • Saute the onions and garlic until fragrant and the onions are translucent - 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Allow the mushrooms to release their liquid and shrink slightly in size.
  • Add in the barley and stir to coat with the oil and allow the barley to toast for about a minute.
  • Pour in the chicken stock, add in the bay leaf, and adjust seasoning. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer for 45 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff and top with the fresh chives.

*Thank you

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