This delicious, simple stew is packed with tasty vegetables and nutty, chewy pearl barley for a dish that will warm your cockles in no time.
By Eleanor Jones
I cannot rave enough about the wonder that is pearl barley. It’s cheap (approximately 40p per 500g here in the UK), healthy and filling, and I could personally devour its chewy goodness by the bucketload. If you’re looking for a New Year alternative to your usual pasta or rice, I definitely recommend giving it a try – particularly in this warming, hearty winter stew.
I’m a vegetarian, so I stirred through some Quorn chicken style pieces. However, I’m sure this would work just as well with the real thing! If you’re a meat-eater, switch out the veg stock for chicken stock and stir through some bacon lardons for an extra salty, savory touch.
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 large carrots
- 2 onions
- 4 sticks of celery
- 1 large leek
- 1 small turnip
- 200g mushrooms
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 100g pearl barley
- 200g Quorn (or chicken)
- 1 small glass white wine
- 900ml vegetable stock
- 1 bayleaf
- 1tsp dried thyme
- 1tsp black pepper
- 50g plain flour
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 25g suet
- 1tsp dried thyme
- Finely chop half an onion, half a carrot and 2 sticks of celery and fry in the olive oil for 5 minutes until soft.
- Stir in the pearl barley and cook for a minute.
- Add the white wine, stir and reduce for 3-5 minutes until the wine has been absorbed.
- Top up with 300ml of the vegetable stock and simmer for a further 30-40 minutes until the pearl barley is tender. Drain the liquid into a bowl and put the pearl barley to one side.
- Chop the remaining onion, carrot, and celery into large, chunky pieces, along with the leek, turnip and mushrooms. Add to a large saucepan and cook for around 5 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften.
- Crush the garlic cloves, add them to the vegetables in the pan and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour over the remaining 600ml vegetable stock, add the bayleaf, dried thyme and pepper, stir, and simmer for 40 minutes.
- While the vegetables are bubbling away, make the dumplings. Add the flour, salt, baking powder and suet, and gradually add cold water until the mixture forms a sticky dough.
- When the 40 minutes of simmering is up, stir through the Quorn/chicken and the cooked pearl barley and cook for 5 minutes until warmed through. Then pull the dumpling dough into 8 equal sized pieces, dot them across the top of the stew and cover, cooking for 20 minutes until the dumplings are puffed up and fluffy.
- Serve in deep bowls and enjoy!
Eleanor Jones is an editorial assistant and writer by day, and a serial sugar junkie by night. A committed vegetarian, her posts are a mostly a mixture of tasty veggie treats and seriously decadent bakes. When she’s not cooking, Eleanor can be found watching old movies, cooing over expensive dresses, and searching the internet for pictures of animals in hilarious costumes. Her blog, mademoisellie, revolves around life, love and most importantly, food, in London.