Tag Archives: stew

3 Ways to Eat Barley

22 May

Barley is an excellent source of fiber and essential amino acids (Google it or read the package it comes in). In addition to loving its taste and texture, I’ve noticed that it really has helped improve my digestive system. This fact is not only good news for my general health, but it also seems to have helped boost my metabolism. I feel like eating more yummy sources of fiber, like barley, is helping me lose weight in a really healthy way. Plus, barley is such a versatile grain. Below are just three ways I have incorporated it into our meals. I look forward to hearing more ideas from you readers! [Note: Barley does contain gluten.]

fried egg on barley

For a breakfast high in protein and fiber, throw a fried egg on some boiled barley and enjoy the yumminess!

Breakfast

By itself, boiled barley has a hearty grain taste. I like to cook it for a long time, stirring frequently (and occasionally adding extra water) so that the barley is soft and tender and the starch water thickens to a yummy consistency. Add a bit of salt while cooking. A bowl of this plain barley as a porridge can be a terrific alternative to oatmeal. Or, for extra protein and variety, throw a fried egg on top. It makes for a great-tasting, super healthy breakfast. By the way, in my experience, barley always takes longer to fully cook than the package indicates, so allow for extra boiling time.

Side Dish

The other day, I mixed boiled pearled barley with choclo cut off the cob. (Peruvian corn; for image and other uses, see this recipe). I boiled both separately first, then mixed them together and boiled them for an additional 30 minutes with some butter and salt (stirring every few minutes). The resulting side dish was one of the yummiest things I’ve made in a while. The texture of the corn perfectly complimented the barley. The taste of the extra soft barley with the potato-like corn and butter blended so well! I took some over to Vita’s apartment and we gobbled it all up. We started calling it kasha, which she taught me is a Russian word for a savory, hearty side dish like this turned out to be.

Main Course

I always cook enough dinner so that there are leftovers for lunch the next day. Sometimes there’s even more than that so I try to get creative and use the leftovers in new ways so that we’re not eating the same thing for three or four days in a row. For example, back in April, I made a giant batch of pea soup. There is still one small container of it in the freezer. Once defrosted, it will be enough for one big lunch or two small sides for dinner. However, I’ve also got some plain boiled barley left in the fridge, which can be an excellent ingredient in soup. So, I’m going to combine the leftover soup and the barley as a base for a stew. I haven’t made a final decision yet, but I plan to add some carrots and maybe also some choclo. It’ll be one of the heartiest vegetable stews I’ve ever made. We also have some leftover pulled pork roast, which could be added since the soup was originally ham stock-based, but I’m not sure about that yet.

pearled barley

Barley is a great source of fiber and amino acids. This tasty grain can be used in many types of hot and cold dishes.

There are so many other ways to cook barley. I even saw some recipes for salads that mix barley with soybeans and other veggies, which sounds really yummy. For a salad, I would stop cooking the barley once it reached a sort of “al dente” texture so that it would blend well with other cold veggies because you wouldn’t want mushy barley in a salad.

I hope you enjoy trying it out in new ways in your life!

–Michelle

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Leftover Easter Ham Recipe #3: Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup

16 Apr

When it comes to soup, I’m good at getting the flavor right but I always make way too much. But since I love soup–and can freeze a bunch of containers of it–it’s not too bad of a problem to have. I’ve only ever made chicken stock and soup before but when I saw all the ham bone and scraps after Easter dinner, I thought it presented the perfect opportunity to try making ham stock for the first time. Most recipes available online call for using ham stock as a base for split pea soup. I decided to add several more types of veggies to that idea. Read on to learn how to make this Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup I came up with…and how to avoid making too much of it (I learned the hard way so you don’t have to, ha ha). I’ve listed measurements that will provide you with a good amount a soup and little to none of the crazy mess I made in my kitchen. This is a hearty, healthy, filling soup that is great for celebrating vegetables in springtime. [For more Leftover Easter Ham Recipe ideas, try my Ham and Pepper Jack Quesadillas and Spring Mix Pasta.]

ham stock veggie soup

Ham Stock and Veggie Medley Soup by Michelle.

Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup

Total prep time: about 40 minutes

Total cook time: 3 to 4 hours

Ingredients for the ham stock:

– leftover ham bone and ham bits

– 2 cloves garlic, split

– about 1/2 cup of cilantro

Ingredients for the soup:

– 1/4 to 1/2 c. each (depending on preference of favorite veggies) of green split peas, yellow split peas, lentils, great northern beans, and barley (all dried, not canned; get the kind that has rapid-boil instructions so that you don’t have to soak them overnight in advance)

– 2 roma tomatoes, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped (1/2- to 1-inch pieces)

– 1 skinny red yam, peeled and chopped (1/2- to 1-inch pieces)

– 1 c. baby carrots, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 1/2 to 1 c. of loose frozen corn kernels

Seasonings for the soup (per 6 cups of broth):

– 1 tsp Peruvian aji amarillo (If you don’t have this, substitute with your favorite pepper or pepper paste.)

– 1 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– 1 tsp ground ginger

– 1 tsp thyme

– 1 tsp marjoram

– 1 tsp basil

– 1/2 tsp seasoning salt

– 1 tsp cumin

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