Pearl barley, bacon and leek casserole recipe

By Lizzie Kamenetzky

  1. Serves 4
  2. Takes 15 minutes to make and about 1 hour to cook
  3. Rating

Pearl barley is an underrated ingredient but this recipe should put a stop to that. At only £2.20 a head to make, this is a cheap family dish that you'll want to make again. A rich, warming and delicious dish for when you need extra energy.

tried and tested
Pearl barley, bacon and leek casserole


  1. A knob of butter
  2. 1 tbsp olive oil
  3. 250g piece bacon or pork belly, cut into pieces, 2 leeks, thickly sliced
  4. 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  5. 300g pearl barley
  6. 300g peeled and cubed butternut squash
  7. 3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  8. 1 litre chicken stock
  9. 175g self-raising flour
  10. 75g butter
  11. 75g Cheddar, grated
  12. 2 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley


  1. 1. Heat a large pan over a medium heat. Add a good knob of butter and olive oil and fry the bacon or pork belly for 5 minutes, until golden.
  2. 2. Add leeks and garlic cloves, and fry for a few minutes.
  3. 3. Add pearl barley, butternut squash, fresh thyme leaves, and chicken stock. Season. Simmer for 25 minutes until the barley is nearly tender.
  4. 4. In a bowl, mix self-raising flour with butter, Cheddar, chopped fresh flatleaf parsley, some seasoning and a splash of water until it forms a soft dough. Roll into walnut-size dumplings, add to the casserole and cook for a further 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Nutritional info

Per serving: 918kcals, 42.5g fat (21g saturated), 37g protein, 106.9g carbs, 5.6g sugar, 4.8g salt

Chef's tip

Pearl barley is really versatile so don’t just use it for stews and casseroles – use it instead of risotto rice or even just cooked in stock and cooled and stirred into salads.


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January 6

I've used this recipe several times now, and my kids love it. just what you need on a cold winters day.


May 28

This is a really easy midweek meal. My partner was non too excited by the recipe title but loved it when I served it.

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