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Zippy Barley Casserole

What you need: 

1-1/2 cups hulled barley or pearl barley
2-1/2 cups boiling water
1 bay leaf
pinch sage
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano
10 cremini mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
2 to 3 stalks celery, diced
2 scallions, chopped [u]Sauce[/u]:
2 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
1 lemon, juice of
2 cloves garlic
1 scallion, chopped
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
Hungarian paprika, to taste
1/2 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste [u]Garnish[/u]:
sesame seeds, to taste
diced sundried tomatoes, to taste
chopped scallion, to taste

What you do: 

1. Rinse barley. Place it in pot with boiling water, bay leaf, and sage; cover and cook for about 45 minutes (you're looking for soft but not mushy, with a little firm in the middle). When cooked, transfer barley to a medium-sized mixing bowl. (A dutch oven is great for this - the lids are usually heavy and snug, and you can save on clean up by using the same pot for the oven!)
2. In the now-empty pot, saute the vegetable in a little water in the following order: Add the onion, paprika, basil, and oregano; saute for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the onion is transparent. Add mushrooms and garlic; cook for 3 minutes. Add the carrot, celery, and scallions; saute for 5 minutes or until mixture comes together. Stir in the barley until the mixture is evenly distributed.
3. Sauce: In a blender, blend the sun-dried tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic, scallion, sesame seeds, and paprika until liquefied. Add tahini and up to 1/2 cup water until sauce is smooth and not too thick. Check seasoning, add salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Transfer to bowl and set aside, reserving a small amount of sauce in a separate bowl.
4. To the larger amount of sauce, add the barley-vegetable mixture and combine until everything is coated nicely. Grease pot (to prevent sticking) before returning sauce-barley-vegetable mixture to pot. Top with remaining sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, scallions, and sesame seeds
5. Bake covered at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, then uncover and cook for 10 minutes more. Serve with a green salad or steamed greens, like collard or chard. Dee-lish on a cold winter day!
Source of recipe: This is a little something I came up with when trying to clean out my fridge and pantry. I also drew on ideas from two of my favourite cookbooks, Refresh by Ruth Tal and Alicia Silverstone's Kind Diet. I hope you enjoy it!

Preparation Time: 
about 1 hour, Cooking time: 35 minutes
Cooking Time: 
35 minutes
Servings: 
8
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

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