...or perhaps, food for the goddess? ...ahem...
I've told you before how much I love barley. Looking for interesting tidbits of this now-favorite food of mine, I found that barley was quite an important grain for the Celts too. In Wales, they even had a god, Taliesin, to rule over barley fields! In Norse mythology, the Norse gods, Skull and Thor, had a famous fight that created thunderstorms in a sacred barley patch. Other notable barley celebrations included Passover, which was originally a barley harvest festival, according to one website. In addition, early Egyptians and Greeks believed that barley was a sacred gift from the gods. Now, I know you can't believe everything you see on the Internet, but I'm happy to think that somewhere out there, there are others who have loved barley too and given it the place it deserves in our diets. :)
This is the recipe that started it all for me: Vegetable, chicken and barley soup, from The Golden Door Cooks Light and Easy. It's simple, filling and delicious without being too hearty for a Springtime meal...and if you're enjoying this Spring in Oregon, you need a little warmth and comfort to ride out the rain anyway. Plus, I was just excited that I got most of the carrots looking like little "cubes"...not exactly a "fine dice" but I was proud it didn't look like "big odd shapes"...carrots are not the easiest thing to "finely dice" for this goddess! Ha! Above the recipe is stated that pearl barley is packed with B vitamins, minerals, iron and calcium.
Vegetable, chicken and barley soup, from the Golden Door Cooks Light and Easy
3/4 cup pearl barley, rinsed
3 cups water
1 bay leaf
3 tsp. kosher salt
3 (4oz) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 cups chicken stock
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 leek, washed well, trimmed and finely diced
1 celery rib, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 small yellow squash, trimmed and finely diced
3 scallions, thinly sliced (about 1/4 cup)
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
Combine barley, water, bay leaf and 2 tsp. salt in a small pot over medium high heat. Cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer 40 minutes or until barley is plump and the water has been absorbed. Add more water if necessary.
Place the chicken breast halves in medium pot and pour in the stock; bring to a simmer. Simmer 15 minutes or until chicken is just cooked through. Remove chicken from stock and set aside to cool. Reserve the stock. Dice chicken into 1/4" cubes. Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve and set aside.
In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, leek, celery, carrot and squash and saute for 3-5 minutes or until just beginning to soften. Stir in the diced chicken and stock, and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Remove the bay leaff from the barley and discard. Add the cooked barley and remaining salt to the soup; simmer for 5 minutes. (add additional stock if soup is too thick). Ladle equal portions of the soup into warm bowls and garnish with scallions and a squeeze of lime.
written by Michelle at 10:06 AM