Barley Pilaf in the Slow Cooker

I don’t really care for rice. Or potatoes. Or pasta. So if you look through my posts, you will find very little of those things. My carbohydrate of choice is a nice crusty, whole wheat bread. Usually smothered in olive oil, cheese, or some delicious spread. Every once in a while we have potatoes at Hec’s request, or rice, ect. But I never post about them because I don’t usually feel passionately about them. I don’t even have a category for grains other than breads. Every once in awhile I’ll be enticed to make hashbrowns smothered in cheese and ketchup, or something as sinfully delicious. But not since I started this blog.

But this is for Héc. I feel bad that we don’t eat those things often enough, because he loves potatoes. and rice. So tonight I wanted to give him a treat. Just because bread is all I like doesn’t mean he should have to suffer. So I was going to make him some rice…until I noticed we didn’t even have rice. But scavenging around our dry-goods plastic bin that serves as part of our pantry, I came across barley. We bought it at the Korean food store a couple months back. I don’t know why I bought it. I’ve never cooked it in my life, and I don’t know that I’ve even had a barley soup. But we had it, and it seemed close enough to rice.

But just the thought of plain white rice…ugg boring. Same for barley, even though I’d never tasted it. So along with the 1.5 cups of barley and 3 cups of water I threw in a few bay leaves, some dried herbs, I found some sundried tomatoes left from the tapenade, we had 5 olives as well. Then I started throwing in anything I could find that seemed reasonable. A stalk of celery and a carrot stick finely minced, a whole head of garlic along with two peeled and smashed cloves. Some of the olive brine, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar*. What else…I can’t even remember. A few tablespoons of chickpeas that were left over from a salad. A few glugs of olive oil for good measure. Three dates finely chopped, to switch up the texture and sweetness. I think that was it.

Two and a half hours on high in my crockpot just until the liquid was absorbed. Delicious and easy. In all honesty– and this is coming from a girl that doesn’t like rice. All you really need to be careful with is the water to grain ratio, and I’m always careful with salt, too. For the veggies, just throw in what you have, what you like. Thats probably why I enjoyed this dish. Not to mention that, after a little investigation, I found that barely is a bit more nutritious than brown rice. That’s a nice bonus.

What I particularly like about this type of food is that it can easily become a soup. And soup is my favorite. Beans can be cooked right along with everything else, too, if you want. Or chicken or any other protein to make it a full meal. Boy…ya gotta love the crockpot.

*I got worried that I should have soaked the barley in water and vinegar for 6 hours before cooking it after reading someones post–but I don’t recommend the vinegar
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One Response

  1. Thank you, thank you, -oh- thank you, thank you! 🙂

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