About this recipe:Barley is a much under-rated and seldom-used grain, which is a great shame since it has a pleasing flavour and texture as well as being a good source of fibre. Here it is cooked with a medley of vegetables in a lemon and thyme stock. The addition of cooked chicken turns the dish into a great main course.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1¼ cups (225 g) pearl barley
600 ml diluted salt-reduced or homemade chicken stock, hot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
grated zest from 1 lemon
juice from 1 lemon
1 cup (150 g) frozen peas
400 g skinned roasted chicken breast, shredded into small pieces
50 g rocket
Directions Prep:20min › Cook:40min › Ready in:1hr
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, then cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
Stir in the barley and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the thyme and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the barley is almost soft.
Add the peas, re-cover and simmer for a further 4–5 minutes until the barley is soft but not mushy and all the stock is absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
Add the chicken pieces and rocket leaves to the pan and lightly toss together. Serve at once.