Barley Apple Pilaf
This is a savory, crunchy grain salad. It illustrates the combination of yin ingredients (barley, celery, apples) with yang foods (onion and garlic). With a vegetable side dish, recipe serves four.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (to sauté barley)
- 1 cup lightly pearled barley
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup lentils (optional)
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (for sautéing lentils)
- 1 medium onion, diced (about 1 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 large, sweet apple, cored and diced
- 3 green scallions, diced
- 1/2 cup pistachios, roughly chopped
Vinaigrette: 1 tablespoon vinegar, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste
Barley has a tough hull and is “pearled” or polished to reduce the hull. Fully pearled barley is chalky white and is used mostly for soups. Here, use a barley that has been lightly pearled: It should be tan or light brown. This pilaf is best prepared in a 2-quart pot with a heavy bottom and a tight-fitting lid.
- Sauté barley in pot using vegetable oil for 2 to 3 minutes until grains are well coated with oil. Bring 2 cups of lightly salted vegetable broth and bay leaves to simmer; add the sautéed barley, stir well, bring to simmer; cover tightly. Allow the barley to cook for 40 minutes over a flame tamer to keep the bottom from burning, or use the lowest electric burner setting. At end of cooking time: Check for doneness: It should be pleasantly chewy and ready to fluff. Set aside to cool.
- While barley cooks, sauté lentils in vegetable oil in another pan for 2 minutes (it keeps them from falling apart). Add salted water to cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until done, but not mushy. Drain well.
- While lentils are cooking, sauté the onions 4 to 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Salt lightly. Add garlic; sauté, stirring well, over low heat for 1 minute longer. (Do not let garlic brown for it becomes bitter.)
- Toast the pistachios lightly, chop, and set aside. Diced apple tends to turn brown when exposed to air; to preserve color, toss with a teaspoon of lemon juice mixed into a tablespoon of water.
- Mix together room-temperature barley, lentils, diced celery, apple, and scallions with vinaigrette; toss lightly. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve topped with chopped pistachios.
John J. Kochevar has contributed many articles on flavorful vegetarian cooking to Yoga International.