Beans, Barley and Lentils

The last few night I have been raiding my legume jars in search for healthy hearty meals and I created some pretty yummy, stick to the ribs dinners, perfect for dark winter nights.

Lentils and Rice

This dish was really earthy with the bright flavors of cardamom and toasted cumin, hits of garlic and citrus. When making this I used left over basmati brown rice which I often cook in over sized batched so I have extra on hand for soups and stir fry or just to entice the dog to clean her plate. Start in a deep cast iron pan by browning 1/2 of a yellow onion and 3 diced carrots in a good glug of oil along with about 2 tbsp of whole cumin seeds and sea salt. Allow the onion to brown then add 1 cup of French lentils, coat them with oil and start to simmer them in 2 cups of water. To this add 1 tbsp cardamom, 1 tbsp garlic granules, black pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar. Simmer this on med-low for 25 minutes, adding more water as necessary. Once the lentils are cooked add 1.5 cups of cooked rice and S+P along with 1 tbsp of nutritional yeast, a squeeze of Braggs and a little pad of butter and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. In a separate small pan toast some almond slices seasoned with a little S+P and a pinch of garlic powder. Add toasted almonds to each serving and enjoy.

Barley Risotto

My wonderful “sister in law” sent us a big ‘ol case of wine for Christmas and the lovely assortment included some white wines, which inspired me to make risotto, but I was out of aborio rice so I opted to try a barley version which I have intended to do for some time. The best thing about making risotto is that you have to a) have wine on hand and b) need something to occupy your time while your stir and stir and stir for 40 minutes… the outcome is obvious; making risotto is an exercise in wine drinking. Step one is open a bottle of white wine and pour your self a glass, see that was easy, now for the dinner. I had planned to make a simple pea and barley risotto when I remembered that our friends had sent us home with a jar of honey cured ham, which they finely sliced and canned in white wine and garlic, the addition of wine cured ham seemed obvious as well, plus the wine in the jar of ham would be a great broth, and would allow me to drink rather than cook one more glass of wine. Ok back to the dish. Start with a deep cast iron pan and a good pad of butter along with a glug of EVOO. Brown finely diced onion (about 1/2 of a yellow onion) along with 4 toes of minced garlic, once these get just brown add 1.5 cups of pearl barley and coast in oil. Now comes the rhythm of adding hot fluid, and stirring in a slow S pattern until almost all of the fluid is absorbed, then add more fluid and continue to repeat this (while drinking wine) for 35-45 minutes or until the barley is soft and cooked through. For fluid I often keep a pot of stock warm on the stove and use that, for this recipe however I used wine (both from the canned ham and from the bottle) alternated with water (which I boiled in a large electric kettle) When you have drank 2 glasses of wine and your arm is getting fatigued you are in the home stretch. The final fluid addition should be fresh cream along with a handful of frozen peas (unless you have fresh) and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese. In the case of this dish the ham added lots of salty garlicky flavor, you’ll want to taste your risotto and season as needed upon finishing. I finished this dish with some thyme from my garden I dried in abundance. Once you have added the cheese and cream stir through and serve immediately.

One Comment to “Beans, Barley and Lentils”

  1. You got me thinking, I just love cooking with rice, and keeping any leftovers is a major chore in this house. And for my famous stews I always add lentils. But it never occurred me to mix the two.
    You are awesome, I just found your blog as I was looking for other blogs on sustainable progress. and I have to say that I love it.

    Keep up the good work.

    Michelle @

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