One of the oldest of all cultivated grains, the consumption of barley for most people has become limited to the malted product used to make beer … nothing against beer, of course, but the whole barley grain is vastly under-used in modern diets compared to its more commercially successful but nutritionally poorer cousin, whole wheat. As well as being a source of vitamin E not found in whole wheat and higher concentrations of vitamins B1 and B2, ordinary hulled barley contains twice the amount of essential fatty acids and almost half again as much dietary fiber as whole wheat while providing a more balanced protein profile. Even with the loss of vitamins and minerals through removal of the germ and part of the bran through pearling, pearled barley is still a better nutritional bargain than whole wheat. And with its mild nutty flavor and soft chewy texture, barley deserves more respect and attention on the menu than the occasional afterthought in soups.
Cooked over very low heat with liquid slowly added in a risotto style, ordinary pearled barley is transformed into a luscious thick and creamy porridge that, with the addition of any favorite assortment of fresh or dried fruits, cinnamon, maple syrup or honey, will have even the most hardened porridge skeptic coming back for more. In this recipe, fresh honeyed almonds and roasted apple pieces add a natural sweetness and a winning crunchy/chewy contrast that just might make breakfast the most memorable meal of the day. Almonds also contribute some of the vitamin E lost in the barley from pearling, in addition to calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, monounsaturated fats, and even more dietary fiber. Roasted apples … well, roasted apples just contribute themselves.
Although the preparation and instructions for this porridge are so extraordinarily simple, it takes about two hours to cook so it's not a breakfast for a weekday unless you make it the night before and reheat the next morning — it stores very well in the refrigerator. Similarly, the honeyed almonds and roasted apples can be prepared a day ahead.
|Barley Porridge with Honeyed Almonds and Roasted Apples|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on May 6, 2009
Thick, creamy slow-cooked barley and apple porridge with roasted apples and honeyed almonds — amazingly good, and amazingly good for you
More barley delights from my kitchen:
Beet Barley and Black Bean Soup
Mango Barley Porridge with Blackberries
Turkish Barley and Apricot Porridge