You might be surprised to learn that barley is one of the oldest of the world’s cultivated grains, and that it is the subject of a large amount of lore.
From Demeter (the Roman goddess of agriculture), whose name many believe to mean ”barley mother”, to varied numerous Biblical references, the grain seems to pop up everywhere.
And why not?
It’s packed with fiber and a wide range of nutrients. It has a pleasant chewiness and fills you up.
And it’s cheap and easy to cook.
This Split Pea Barley Stew is perfect for a dark fall day (when the news of the world is just a little too much).
The recipe uses pearl barley – the more slightly refined version of the grain. You can use pot barley, too, but it will take slightly longer to cook. You may need to add more than the 1 cup / 250 ml of water specified.
No matter what type you use, your barley stew will taste just fine.
(The molasses might seem a little weird, but it works. I find it adds a bit of the depth that meatless dishes can sometimes lack.)
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml oil
- 2 onions, chopped (about 2 cups / 500 ml)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml molasses
- 2 large carrots, diced (about 2 cups / 500 ml)
- 4 stalks celery, chopped (about 1-1/2 cups / 375 ml)
- 1 cup / 500 ml yellow split peas
- ½ cup / 125 ml barley
- 8 cups / 2 liters vegetable stock
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml parsley
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml thyme
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml sage
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml ground pepper
- 1 cup / 250 ml water
- ½ teaspoon / 2.5 ml salt
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml lemon juice
- Heat a large saucepan or pot over medium heat. When the pot has heated, add the oil and swirl to coat pan. Add onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until they start to soften. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes longer. Do not let the onions or the garlic start to brown. If they start to brown, turn down the heat.
- Add salt and molasses and stir to coat onions. Cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
- Add carrots, celery, split peas, and barley. Stir to coat and let cook for one more minute.
- Add vegetable stock, parsley, thyme, sage and ground pepper.
- Bring mixture to a boil, uncovered, then reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
- Let the stew simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add water, and cook, covered, for an additional 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep stew from sticking to bottom of pan. When split peas are tender, add remaining salt and lemon juice.
- Let stew cool for 10 minutes, then serve. It will thicken as it cools.
- If you are preparing the stew in advance, you can thin it with stock or water if you prefer it to be less thick.