A knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
250g piece bacon or pork belly, cut into pieces, 2 leeks, thickly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
300g pearl barley
300g peeled and cubed butternut squash
3 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
1 litre chicken stock
175g self-raising flour
75g Cheddar, grated
2 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
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. Add leeks and garlic cloves, and fry for a few minutes.
3. Add pearl barley, butternut squash, fresh thyme leaves, and chicken stock. Season. Simmer for 25 minutes until the barley is nearly tender.
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.
- 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.