Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Smoked Haddock & Pearl Barley Casserole

At the time of cooking this I was back on the 5:2 as it was the start of the year and I was feeling a bit lardy. Fish is an easy thing to build into 5:2 meal plans as it is so low in calories, even smoked fish as is used here.

I’d also decided, as a type of new year’s resolution, to incorporate more whole grains into our diet and so coming across this recipe was a bit of a godsend as it meant I could use some of my newly purchased pearl barley.

Pearl barley is barley that has been processed to remove its hull and bran. Barley needs to have its fibrous outer hull removed anyway before it can be eaten (pot or Scotch barley) but pearl barley is taken a step further and is polished to remove the bran layer, meaning it cooks faster and is less chewy. Because it has had the bran removed it doesn’t actually need soaking before cooking but I did it to just cut the cooking time slightly.

Try and get undyed smoked haddock if you can so you don’t have that lurid acid house party thing going on in your dish, but if that is all you can get, it is fine.

This is incredibly tasty, surprisingly so really and I’ve made it a couple of times since and will probably do so again soon.

Smoked Haddock & Pearl Barley Casserole
serves 2

245g smoked haddock, cut into chunks
40g frozen peas
60g pearl barley
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 banana shallot, finely chopped
250ml chicken stock
5g butter
juice of ½ lime
handful parsley, finely chopped
2 eggs, poached

Put the frozen peas in a colander and rinse with boiling water. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a heavy based pan and add the onion: cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until softened and translucent.

Add the stock and the pearl barley and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for around 30 minutes until the pearl barley is tender.

Add the smoked haddock, and mustard and cook for a further 5 minutes before adding the peas and lime juice.

Cook for 2-3 minutes more and then check the seasoning before stirring through half of the parsley.

Serve in bowls with the remaining parsley sprinkled over and each topped with a poached egg.

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