Pearl barley, bacon and leek casserole

  • for 4 people
  • Takes 15 minutes to make and about 1 hour to cook
  • Easy
Pearl barley is an underrated ingredient but this recipe should put a stop to that. At around £2.20 a head to make, this is a cheap family dish that you'll want to make again.

Nutritional info per serving

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

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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 butter
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.

From February 2009

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