Monday, 9 July 2018

Rach Eats Lunch: Baked Pearl Barley

Slow cooker baked pearl barley recipe

Hello you. It's Monday where you are, Tuesday where I am. And to be honest, I feel a bit jittery, for reasons I can't 100% get into. All I can say is that it involves Dr Google, which isn't helping matters, but forewarned is forearmed. Or something. Anyway, I'm cutting my recipe dev days down this week, by one, just so I can be present and try to chill out a bit. But you know when you want to know the answer to something, but at the same time, you don't want to know if it could be the worst news ever? That. It's not a nice feeling to go through and I swear to god - if you find lumps or bumps or have something going on with your health that's annoying and just won't go away... go and get it checked. Put your mind at rest, oh, and everyone else's too.

Anyway, today's recipe is a bit different - it's definitely a treaty recipe, one that can be bunged together in a slow cooker by way of the blender, or just cooked in the oven. I had this bizarre thought that you could make a savoury rice pudding, and I decided... why not do it with pearl barley and add a few other favourite savoury-sweet bits to it? So I've added peas and ham (but I forgot the ham in the end) and a whole load of cheese. Yes, it does take forever to cook, but not as forever as you'd expect it to be... but it's worth it. I think. I just hope it cooks before 1pm, and I've had it on since eleven. Oops.


(So creamy, so delicious... mmm!)

Serves 1

You'll need:
100g pearl barley
250ml unsweetened soya milk
12g each plain flour and soya margerine
65g strong grated cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon each salt and pepper
60g frozen peas
1 piece ham, roughly torn (optional)

1. Start off by preheating the oven to 180℃ and grabbing, like always at the moment, an ovenproof dish. Measure out the pearl barley and wash it under the tap, in a sieve, and give it a good shake to get rid of the water. Pour the pearl barley into the ovenproof dish and add the frozen peas.

2. In a jug, measure out the soya milk and add the butter. Put the whole lot in the microwave on full power for three minutes. Once it's done, stick it in a blender. Add the flour, cheese, salt and pepper and whizz it up until it makes a thickened sauce.

3. Pour the sauce all over the pearl barley and peas in the oven dish, and stir it up. Finish off by adding the ham, if you're using it, and a little bit more salt and pepper. Next, pop the whole lot in the oven for 40-50 minutes approximately, stirring frequently as it thickens up. The skin will brown and the pearl barley will sink and stick to the bottom, so be sure to stir it thoroughly.

4. When it's double in size, tender, and just like rice pudding... not too liquidy but not too dry either... remove it from the oven and serve it in a bowl. Eat immediately, and rejoice.

Best pearl barley recipes

And with that, you have lunch. And yes, I totally enjoyed it - creamy and cheesy and totally satisfying. I actually ended up eating mine very, very early, which has left me shellshocked! Totally worth it - go on, give it a go!

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