Chicken and barley stew

by mutteringhousewife

Yes I am planning to blog about what we had for dinner. You don’t really want to hear about mail merges, do you? Or my visit to the ankle doctor? Or my long and ultimately fruitless quest for malt syrup? I didn’t think so.

The family are all excited today. It’s the first soccer training of the year. The man of the house gets his team of Jedis back AND the field is miraculously open, the Horror gets to see his friends from his old school and wear his new lairy purple boots, the Muffet gets to go along and earn ten dollars as assistant coach and boss around little boys and the Moose gets out of it because he has tennis. And I get an extra couple of hours peace to construct a dinner that the kids really won’t like, because they get sushi for dinner on soccer training nights due to the logistical difficulties of the afternoon.

It’s a bits and pieces one pot dinner, but I’m extremely pleased with how it’s turned out. I’ll do the basics first. Finely dice thee or four rashers of bacon and an onion. Cook them over low heat in a medium sized pot, I didn’t add any fat because the bacon had enough. When that’s starting to smell rather good add in a chopped carrot and a chopped stick of celery. Also a smashed clove of garlic and a couple of chillies you’ve picked from the plant you bought from Frank a few months ago with some kind of thoughts of making sweet chilli sauce.

When that’s looking like it might burn, add two cups of chicken stock. You know that stuff you made a few months ago and have in half cup ziplock bags?

Then add half a cup of pearl barley and stir it in.

You let that simmer, covered, for an hour or so, until all the liquid is absorbed. You turn it off until about twenty minutes before the hordes are due home from soccer training, then you add the optional stuff. This will be any dag ends you find in the fridge. In my case, an aged tomato, some leftover cooked chicken, and no Meriadoc, I won’t be dropping any,

and some fresh corn.

I think some fresh herbs would also be nice, but the only one I have is mint, and I really don’t think so. Mushrooms would also be lovely. And whatever soft vegetables you want to use up, curses, I should have put in cauliflower. Stir it over heat until the soft vegies are just cooked. This made enough for two and enough leftover for me to have for lunch tomorrow. It had a full and satisfying flavour and it probably could have stood another chilli. Bacon makes everything good.