Tag Archives: Barley

Spinach & Barley Soup with Fried Sage

A warm, invigorating soup for increasingly crisp fall evenings. The lemon juice is essential to the success of this recipe as it lightens the heaviness of the barley and the chickpeas. The final addition of fried sage leaves pleases both the palate and the eye.

Spinach & Barley Soup with Fried Sage
Serves 4-6

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
5 large sage leaves, chopped
1 cup pearl barley
14 oz can organic garbanzo beans
14 oz can organic diced tomatoes
8 cups spinach, washed and chopped
6 1/2 cups homemade vegetable stock
fine-grain sea salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
juice from 1-2 lemons, to taste

parmesan cheese
3-4 whole fresh sage leaves per person
olive oil, for frying

1.) Heat oil in a large soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Once very hot, add onion and a pinch of salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and sage and cook for 8 minutes more. Add barley and cook for 1-2 mintues.

2.) Add beans and tomatoes and give everything a good stir. Add spinach, in batches if the volume is too great, and cook until wilted. Add stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Check to make sure barley is cooked through (it should still retain some bit), taste for salt and pepper and season to taste.

3.) While soup is simmering, heat a glug of olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add sage leaves and fry until crisp. Set aside on paper towels to drain.

4.) To serve, stir in red wine vinegar. Season to taste with lemon juice. Ladle soup into bowls, coat generously with shaved parmesan, adorn with sage leaves, and serve.

Strawberry Barley Scones

Barley’s natural affinity for fruit lends itself swimmingly to these strawberry jam scones. I used a jar of strawberry preserves from Seedling over at Chicago’s Green City Market. I imagine that any fruit jam or preserves would be equally as delectable in this recipe.

Strawberry Barley Scones
Makes 8

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons barley flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup low fat buttermilk
1 egg

1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or turbinado sugar

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift flours, baking powder, and baking soda together into a large bowl. Whisk in sugars and salt. In a separate small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and egg.

2.) Place flour mixture in the bed of a food processor. Cut 1/2″ chunks of the butter into the flour mixture. Pulse until the size of peas. Dump flour and butter mixture into a large bowl. Using a spatula, mix in buttermilk and egg until just barely combined.

3.) Transfer dough to a well-floured surface with floured hands. Divide dough into two equal pieces. Pat each piece into a disk about 3/4″ thick.

4.) Generously spread jam over the entire surface of one disk. Take the other disk and press it down on top of the jam. Cut eight triangles out of the circle.

5.) Place on prepared baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 22-27 minutes; until golden on top and the jam has begun to caramelize. Quickly transfer to a cooling rack.

This recipe was very slightly adapted from Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce. Published by Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, New York; 2010.

Barley Risotto with Cannellini Beans, Arugula, Kale, and Lemon Zest

Have you ever tried a barley risotto? If not, you are in for a treat. As an eternal devotee to the wonders of Italian cuisine, I don’t think it gets much better than this. This is a wondrous dish – hearty, healthy, vibrant, refreshing, green, and amazingly delicious. Easily one of my favorite things that I’ve made so far this year. Trust me, this is a dish that you will come to crave.

You will also love that you can go for seconds (and thirds!) without feeling too much guilt – barley is packed full of fiber (both soluble and insoluble), protein, copper, antioxidants, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E and K. Whew! But most importantly, it tastes SO GOOD. As in, I don’t at all prefer regular Arborio rice-style risotto over barley risotto.

If you haven’t cooked with barley before, be forewarned that it is a very thirsty grain, and the copious amounts of liquid and stirring in this recipe are quite necessary for the perfect end result. Do feel free to change up the beans, greens, and herb combination – the possibilities are endless.

Barley Risotto with Cannellini Beans, Arugula, Kale, and Lemon Zest

The Risotto
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, cut to a 1/4″ dice
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed
14 oz can cannellini beans
3 packed cups of arugula and kale mix, the argula chopped and the kale cut into 1/4-1/2″ ribbons
1/2 freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
juice of half a lemon, or to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

The Garnishes
zest of 1-2 lemons
handful of chopped arugula
freshly grated cheese

1.) In your widest heavy-bottomed skillet (not nonstick), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, marjoram, and a few pinches of salt, and cook for about 10 minutes; or until onion begins to take on some color and the bottom of the pan is beginning to collect some delicious browned bits. Meanwhile, gently heat your stock in a small saucepan so that it is nice and warm, but not simmering or boiling.

2.) Once the onions are nicely colored, add barley and cook for several minutes more.

2.) Add white wine to deglaze the plan, and scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with your wooden spoon.

3.) Now we begin the long (yet immensely satisfying) process of adding the liquid. Add 1 cup of stock and stir until fully incorporated.

4.) Continue adding stock and stirring frequently by 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to let the barley absorb each 1/2 cup before you add the next. If you add too much liquid at a time, the risotto will not come out as intended. You will have between 6 to 8 additions. I used 3 1/2 cups of stock, but you may wish to use more if you prefer a “looser” risotto.

5.) Once all of your stock is absorbed and the barley is pleasant to the bite, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese and butter. Then stir in the beans and greens. Cook until greens are wilted; just a few minutes.

6.) Remove from heat, and stir in the lemon juice. To serve, divide between 4 plates (or 2 if you are habitually hungry). Sprinkle each serving with a bit of chopped arugula, and loads of lemon zest and cheese.