I’m not sure that this is exactly what you could call true genuine “Pilaf” by definition, but it sure is what I was brought up to believe “Pilaf” was all about. Whenever I would get served Rice Pilaf, it would be a dish made of rice cooked in chicken broth, with peas, carrots and parsley in it. Growing up, it was one of my favorite side dishes!
To change things up a bit, and seeing as how I’ve been completely infatuated with barley lately, I decided to come up with this delicious twist on that great classic and made Barley Pilaf instead!
My oh my is this stuff yummy! I like it even better than the real thing!
Honestly, I can’t begin to understand why it is that we, as a culture, don’t eat barley more often, why it is that it doesn’t find its way to our plates on a regular basis, like say, rice and potatoes.
Indeed, barley is so much easier to cook than rice (most people complain that they can never get their rice right), it has a very pleasant, slightly nutty flavor to it, and a texture that’s unparalleled! It’s so chewy, so much fun to eat: chewing on barley it feels like a party is taking place right inside your mouth!
If you’ve never really tried barley before, here’s your chance! And of course, if you preferred to stick with rice, you could very well do this exact same recipe but use your favorite rice instead…
I like to cook barley exactly like I do rice, except I use a little bit more liquid, to make up for the longer cooking time.
What I do is I rinse the grains thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear and then I place them in a medium sized saucepan along with the liquid, in this case, chicken broth and water.
Then, I stir everything only just this once, bring the whole thing the boil and then I lower the heat to a slow simmer; I cover the pan and cook the barley without stirring for about 30 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Just as with rice, I avoid taking that lid off at all costs during cooking: I want to keep all of that precious moisture in the pan!
That’s where a see-through lid comes in super handy! If you don’t have pans that are equipped with see-through lids, be sure to only lift that cover towards the very end, when you have very good reason to believe that the barley is done and that liquid is all gone.
Once that’s happened, allow the barley to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
While the barley is resting, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil) in a saute pan set over medium heat; add the onion, garlic and carrot as well as the salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
Next, add the cooked barley, frozen peas, parsley and turmeric; stir delicately until well combined.
And that’s it! You’re done. There’s no need to even thaw those peas, the heat of the dish alone will take care of cooking them for you…
Simply kill the heat and let your Barley Pilaf sit for a few minutes, until the green peas are heated all the way through, and serve.
Hopefully, this dish will make you a believer and have you join the ranks of barley lovers!
- 1 cup (230g | 8.1oz) pearl barley
- 1 cup (240ml) chicken broth (storebought or homemade)
- 1-3/4 cups (420ml) water
- 1-2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 large carrot, finely diced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ½ tsp salt (I use Himalayan salt)
- ¼ tsp ground white pepper
- ½ cup (230g | 3oz) frozen peas
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- Rinse the barley thoroughly under cold running water until the water runs clear and place it in a medium sized saucepan along with the chicken broth and water. Stir once, bring to the boil then lower the heat to a slow simmer; cover and cook without stirring for about 30 minutes, until all water is absorbed. Avoid taking the lid off during cooking.
- Once all the liquid is gone, allow the barley to rest, covered, for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a saute pan set over medium heat; add the onion, garlic and carrot as well as the salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
- Add the cooked barley, frozen peas, parsley and turmeric; stir delicately until well combined.
- Kill the heat and let the barley pilaf sit for a few minutes, until the peas are heated through, and serve.