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!