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Cooking Barley so it's tasty

Other than in soups, how like your barley prepared? I love the texture and could eat it in place of rice often.

Can it be baked?

what are your best barley recipes?

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  1. switching up the cooking liquid makes a huge difference. i always cook it with lots of aromatics and chicken stock; then depending on what i'm serving it with, often include either lemon or orange juice, and that zest at the end.

    i really like it as a salad component and treat it like cous-cous. i like it with lots of parsley or watercress, slivered almonds, golden raisins, bits of cumin-scented chicken, and chopped olives or feta. i also like it with black beans and corn.

    you can bake it, make it "risotto" style, or toast it before regular cooking.

    1. I love barley cooked in chicken broth/stock and then mixed with sauteed onions and mushrooms of any kind. A very satisfying, and healthy, side dish.

      2 Replies
      1. re: FlavoursGal

        Ditto. Barley pilaf is great and it doesn't even take that long.

        1. re: FlavoursGal

          Exactly what I do - it's delicious. I love to use dried thyme whenever I sautee mushrooms and then, for this dish, add some fresh thyme after mixing the barley with the mushrooms and onions.

        2. I cook it up like a pilaf. I love barley!

          1. I can just eat it boiled in water like rice. (I'd rather eat just about anything before plain white rice.) But most often I put it in soup. There's a wonderful recipe in the old Diet for a Small Planet book for a barley & buttermilk soup that absolutely rocks.

            1. Simple, but very nice - mix some barley in with white rice. It's a really lovely, warming but substantial base for coq au vin and the such.

              1. I miz cooked barley with sauteed mushrooms, carrots and onions and then add some chopped parsley- it is lovely that way too!

                1. Barley salad with chopped veggies and a creamy vinaigrette is very nice.

                  1. its awfully good cooked with beef and mushrooms - for example a nice beef shank bone or oxtails - cook the beef with aromatics for a while to create a nice gelatinous broth - pressure cooker is good for this - take out the beef before it overcooks, and remove from the bone to re-add later - then you can add the barley and sauteed mushrooms - if you have some dried porcini or polish mushrooms to add into the broth, all the better - can make as soup or stew, add some fresh carrots, onions etc in toward the end and garnish with dill or parsley to finish.

                    2 Replies
                    1. Barley with beef stock and cabbage sauted with red wine vinegar and olive oil and then add some sausage. A dish found in northern Italy...terrific

                      1. Barley cooked in homemade turkey stock with apples and kale. Yummy middle-of-winter dish.

                        1. cook it like risotto and finish it with some mushrooms and truffle oil. amazing.

                          1. Cooked with some lamb neck to make a good Scotch broth...that sounds awfully good right now, with this cold snap we're having!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              That's my Mum's receipe - that's how I make it and now Chowpup
                              cooks it so it tastes just like the original! BTY its really hard to find lamb neck since most of the supermarkets have some allergy
                              to selling any meat that has bones. Bought the last lot of lamb
                              neck at Albertsons.

                            2. I make a pilaf with lots of sauteed mushrooms, onion, toasted pecans, dried cranberries, cooked in chicken broth.

                              1. Pearl barley makes an amazing, and surprisingly light, risotto. Make your risotto as you normally would (I think spinach and garlic are perfect with barley) subbing barley for arborio. You mercifully don't have to stir it as often to develop the starch, so it's great for this time of year when you need something filling for a side dish that doesn't consume all of your attention.

                                1. makes a great stuffing for cabbage leaves--mix with a little s&p, raw hamburger, nutmeg, thyme and stuff the leaves. Cook over a bed of sauerkraut laced with brown sugar and tomato sauce. Nice.