Cooking with Barley
A GREAT SOURCE OF VITAMINS & FIBER
by Coleen and Bob Simmons
Like wheat, barley consumption predates written history. Nomadic tribes began cultivating barley first as a cereal grain and soon after as a beer-brewing ingredient. Barley is full of vitamins and is a good source of fiber, complex carbohydrates and protein. Barley is low in fat and has no cholesterol.
While barley has a more distinctive flavor than rice, it, like rice, is a delicious base for soups, stews, salads, curries, casseroles and desserts.
Following are some common forms of barley available today:
Pearl barley is a whole-grain barley from which the outer hull has been removed. It is the most common form available. Pearl barley comes in both regular and quick-cooking forms.
Barley flakes make a delicious hot cereal. Cook them as you would oatmeal. Or, use barley flakes in baked goods.
Barley flour is a low-gluten flour. It can be used in baked items to add a distinctive flavor, but it should be combined with wheat flour to achieve the proper results. In general, you can replace up to 25% of the wheat flour with barley flout in yeast breads and up to 50% of the wheat flour with barley flour in cookies and quick breads.
Basic Cooked Pearl Barley
Makes 31/2 - 4 cups
Pearl barley requires no soaking. Take a couple of minutes to sort through it and remove any stones or extraneous materials that may have slipped through the packaging process. Instant or quick-cooking barley usually cooks in 10 to 12 minutes. Follow package directions for specifics.
1 cup regular pearl barley
Place barley, water and salt, if using, in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 45 minutes, until barley is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed. Fluff grains with a fork. Cool before refrigerating.
Mushroom Barley Soup
Serve this soup, which freezes well, for a rainy-day meal with hot garlic bread or biscuits.
1 oz. dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl with 2 cups of the
hot water; let stand for 20 minutes, until softened. Remove mushrooms from liquid and chop
coarsely. Strain soaking liquid through a paper coffee filter or cheesecloth and reserve.
Old-Fashioned Refrigerator Cookies
With this dough on hand in the refrigerator, a panful of crisp warm cookies is only 15 minutes away. Substitute 3/4 cup barley or oat flour for part of the all-purpose flour, if desired. Line baking sheets with parchment for easy cleanup.
1 cup butter, softened
With a mixer, beat butter with sugars until light and
fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix well. In a small bowl, mix flout with baking soda,
cinnamon and salt; gradually add flour mixture to egg mixture, mixing well. Add remaining
ingredients to bowl and mix well; dough will be sticky. Divide dough in half and place
each half on a long sheet of waxed paper. Using waxed paper, shape dough into 2 long
rolls, about 3 inches in diameter. Place rolls in the refrigerator until firm, for at
least 4 hours.
From Cooking with Grains, by Coleen and Bob Simmons. Copyright © 1999 by Bristol Publishing Enterprises, Inc. Excerpted by arrangement with by Bristol Publishing Enterprises, Inc. $8.95. Available in local bookstores or 800-346-4889 or click here.