Country Barley Caserole

In my commitment to eating seasonally this winter, I've discovered barley. My mom makes a great barley soup & to be honest, I hadn't considered its many other possibilities.

If you can get your hands on quick cook barley it will decrease cooking time slightly. I used pearl barley & it was about 45 minutes from start to finish.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tbs cooking oil of choice to start (more as needed)
  • 1/2 chopped medium yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground oregano
  • 6 shitake mushroom cut to preference
  • 1 can chickpeas drained & rinsed
  • 1/3 cup (pearl) barley
  • 1.5-2 cups vegetable stock (or one vegetable bouillon cube)
  • 1/2 orange pepper chopped
  • 1/2 yellow pepper chopped
  • 1 stock celery chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups chopped swiss chard
  • 1 cup chopped kale of your choice
  • 3/4 cup breakcrumbs
  • 1/2 tsp Italian spice mix
  • 1 tbs fresh dill minced

Directions: 

Heat large pot & oil on stove at medium heat. Add onion, paprika, garlic, & oregano, cook until soft (aprox three minutes). Add mushrooms & chickpeas, about two minutes. Add barley & 1.5 cups vegetable stock (if using bouillon cube, replace stock with water), bring to a boil. Add peppers, celery, lower heat & cover. Let simmer until barley is soft (approx 30-35 minutes). If more liquid is required, add last 1/2 cup vegetable stock -  it's ok if there's still a bit at the end.

In separate bowl, combine bread crumbs, Italian spice, & dill. Preheat oven at low broil. 

Once barley is soft, add salt, Swiss chard, & kale. Stir until wilted. Remove from heat & transfer to a 8.5" x 11" baking pan. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture on top. Broil approx 5-10 minutes or until bread crumbs get crispy.