Sunday, June 1, 2014

Barley Casserole

This very inexpensive, easy-to-make, and delicious side dish is a pleasant change from the usual rice,
High fiber, low fat: Barley Casserole.
potatoes, or pasta. Doubled, it makes a great buffet dish. If you double this recipe, cook it 90 min. in a 2 qt. (2 L) casserole. High in fiber and low in calories, barley is a great - and often-overlooked - dietary choice. I absolutely love it! 

Barley Casserole:

2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 tsp. canola oil
1 10-fl. oz. (284 mL) can sliced mushrooms, drained (see Note), or 5 large fresh mushrooms
1/4 c. chopped onion
1/4 c. chopped red or yellow sweet bell pepper (“capsicum”)
1 c. pot or pearl barley (see Nutritional Note)
1 c. beef stock
1-1/2 c. boiling water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/3 c. grated cheese, for topping
1 tsp. fresh parsley, finely minced, if desired

Preheat oven to 325 deg. F. In medium skillet on medium-high heat, melt butter together with oil. Add mushrooms, onion, and pepper. Sauté until tender but not brown. Rinse barley in a sieve under cold, running water. Add to skillet, stirring until barley starts to brown. 

Sauté over medium-high heat, until barley starts to brown.

Combine beef stock and boiling water. Add to barley mixture slowly, so hot barley sizzles. Season and add garlic. Transfer to spray-greased 1 qt. (1 L) casserole. 

Combine well, transfering to covered casserole.

Bake, covered, 1 hr., until barley is tender and liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork, topping with cheese and a flurry of parsley. Serves 6.

Note: Save the drained mushroom liquid to add as part of the total liquid in this recipe.  

Nutritional Note: Either pot or pearl barley works well in this recipe. Pearl barley has been “polished” to look prettier, with considerable nutrient loss. Pot barley is more nutrient-dense than pearl barley. Although it is not as “pretty,” it has a slight crunch and is a better nutritional choice.

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