As you have no doubt figured out before now, I am a huge fan of ancient and underused grains, such as quinoa and black barley. This is one of my favorite ways to serve black barley cooked pilaf-style but I like it other ways too. If you are in the mood for a wholesome, hearty, and full-flavored fall dish, you have hit pay dirt with this recipe! For the best texture, start the day before and soak the grain for a full 24 hours, but if you have time for only 3 or 4 hours of soaking, you wont be disappointed.
Serves 4 - 6
8 ounces uncooked black barley
1 small bunch fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
1⁄4 teaspoon black peppercorns
Grated zest of 1 orange
1⁄4 cup diced parsnip (1 small parsnip)
1⁄4 cup diced carrot (1 small carrot)
1⁄4 cup diced celery root (1 small root)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish
1. Put the barley in a bowl. Pour enough cold water over it to cover by about 1". Set aside to soak for about 24 hours.
2. Lay an 8" 3 8" double thickness of cheesecloth on a work surface. Pile the thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and orange zest in the center of the cheesecloth. Tie the corners together to make a bouquet garni.
3. Drain the barley. Transfer it to a large pot. Add 4 cups of water and the bouquet garni. Stir once or twice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer very gently for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
4. If necessary, drain the excess liquid from the pot. Add the parsnip, carrot, celery root, and butter. Stir to mix. Continue cooking over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender and the butter melts. Season to taste with salt and pepper, garnish with the parsley, and serve.
Originally published in Sustainably Delicious by Michael Nischan. Reprinted with permission.
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