Barley with Sorrel

Apart from needing to cook the barley in advance, this is very simple. Also apart from having the sorrel. I’m afraid you mostly get that by growing it yourself, but here is your annual reminder that if you have any space to grow it, it is well worth-while. It is such a nice thing to have early in the year, it needs so little attention, and it is really very tasty and versatile. Only the fact that it turns a discouraging army brown when cooked is sad. Close your eyes, or add a little spinach, leeks, or green onions to give the colour (and flavour) a boost. If leeks, they should be chopped finely and cooked in the butter a few minutes by themselves before anything else goes in; otherwise, with they would go in with the sorrel. 
You could sprinkle grated cheese over the top and put it under the broiler until bubbling, and serve it as a light main course, but we had it with some plain baked chicken. Fish would be good too.
4 servings30 minutes prep time NOT including cooking the barley 

Creamed Barley with Sorrel
Cook the Barley:1/2 cup barley2 cups water1/4 teaspoon saltAs ever, this is best done in the rice cooker. Put it all in, turn it on, cook. This can be done up to a day in advance. 
Finish the Dish:
2 cups finely shredded sorrel2 tablespoons minced fresh dill2tablespoons butter1 cup chicken OR vegetable stock1/3 cup creamsalt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Wash and pick over the sorrel, discarding any tough or damaged stems and leaves. Drain it well. Wash and dry the dill. Shred them both quite finely. 
Heat the butter in a medium skillet or shallow saucepan, and add the sorrel and dill. Cook over medium heat until wilted and sorrel has turned a dirty khaki colour. Crumble up the barley and add it, then stir in the stock. Cook slowly, stirring regularly, until the mixture is thick. Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Heat through but do not let it boil once the cream is in. Serve at once. 

Last year at this time I made Wonton Soup, No Wontons.

* Originally published here

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