In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Recipes for Alaskan Barley

This week our CSA box contains Alaskan-grown barley!
Here are some recipes, thanks to Glacier Valley CSA.

The barley is naturally hull-less, which is handy, since it doesn’t have to be hulled in a grain mill. Just use the barley as you would use pearl barley, but I don’t think it will get quite as creamy as pearl barley does. You can cook it up and use it in place of rice or other grains, adding it to soups or muffins, for example. Arthur made a beef & barley soup out of it, and said it turned out great! I don’t have a recipe for that, but I have used it successfully in breakfast porridge. (Recipe for the porridge follows.)

Here’s a couple of basic ways of cooking it, as if you were going to eat it in place of brown rice, for example:
Cook 1 cup of barley in 3 cups of water, (and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, if desired). You’ll need to bring it to a boil, and then cover and simmer it for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender, to get it fully cooked. If you soak it overnight, you can cut the cooking time down—but I’m not sure by how much. (Sorry.)

Another way to cook it is to simmer it (covered) in plenty of water, as if you were cooking pasta, until it’s tender (probably about 90 minutes), and then drain it. Put it back in the hot pot and cover it to let the remaining moisture absorb into the grains.

barley & apricot porridge

I like this breakfast porridge with barley, inspired by a recipe from Mollie Katzen’s breakfast cookbook: Sunlight Café. Her recipe is for a traditional Turkish dish called Anooshavoor.

½ cup barley
1 cup water, plus more as needed
1 ½ cups apple juice
¼ teaspoon cardamom (or 6 cardamom pods)
¼ teaspoon salt
10 or more dried apricots, sliced
1 tablespoon honey, or more to taste
optional toppings:
milk, soymilk, or yogurt
toasted almonds, chopped
more honey

1. Combine the barley and water and apple juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer, add the salt and cardamom, and let cook, covered, over low heat for about 1 ½ hours, or maybe more, stirring occasionally and adding more water as necessary to keep the porridge a bit soupy.
2. When the barley is tender, check the consistency. If you want the porridge soupier, add more apple juice. Add the apricots and honey, stir, remove from the heat and cover the pot. Let stand for 10 minutes to let the apricots soften and blend into the barley.
3. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Top with your choice of milk, almonds, and more honey.

Borealkitchen's Beef Barley Soup
Our family often eats soup in the winter. This one is simple but satisfying -- great for preparing ahead and putting in the crockpot for a busy day. It makes a meal with some hearty wholegrain bread and a salad. The key is to use home-made beef stock from scratch (my recipe here) -- after defatting, it keeps well in the freezer.
Note: can easily make this without meat pieces, only stock

beef (round or other) -cut into small pieces
barley (if not pre-soaked, allow well over 2 hrs until cooked!)
other rootcrops as desired (turnips, potatoes)
bay leaf
salt, pepper

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