Barley with Sauteed Vegetables and Feta Cheese
An observation: There is more to food in the house than you might believe.
At least that’s what I am discovering.
Since this project got started, meals have come together by choosing the “castoff ingredient” first, then filling things out with food that is on hand. We are spending noticeably less on groceries, and rarely — if ever — need to dash out for that one important ingredient.
Today, for example, we’re trying something with barley.
I’ve always associated barley with soup. Good, hearty soup, usually with beef or mushrooms or both.
Dan associates it with beer. Something about a barley sandwich.
I had never considered barley as a main ingredient but once I started looking, I discovered recipes for barley casseroles, barley pilafs, even a barley risotto.
Today’s recipe, Barley with Sauteed Vegetables and Feta Cheese, comes from the 1993 cookbook Rose Reisman Brings Home Light Cooking. It is a perfect winter side-dish, featuring red pepper, mushrooms, canned tomatoes and chicken stock. The feta is the most exotic ingredient of the bunch.
It even got a nod of approval from Dan, along with the comment: “It tastes like Rice-A-Roni.”
As compliments go, I didn’t really see that one coming. But , what the heck, I’ll drink to that.
Kitchen castoff used
Barley, pot or pearl. Both are polished, but pot barley still has most of its bran layer thus has slightly more nutritional value
This is how we did it
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp crushed garlic
- 3/4 cup chopped green or red pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped mushrooms
- 3/4 cup pot barley
- 1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 dried oregano
- 3 oz feta cheese
In a saucepan, heat the oil then saute the garlic, pepper and mushrooms for about five minutes. Add the barley and saute another few minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the tomatoes, stock, basil and oregano. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about half an hour or until the barley is tender. Pour into a serving dish and sprinkle with the cheese.
After cooking, mine was still a bit soupy so I strained away the extra liquid, and that worked out just fine.
Also, this is a good dish to make early in the day and reheat later.
Curious about my “Kitchen Castoffs” concept? Here’s the explainer describing my 100-day project.
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