Barley, barley, barley. The underrated hero of the grains. Full of fibre and calcium, but low in calories. I would go as far as to call it a super-grain. Barley is one of the first cultivated grains that humans ate and has many health benefits. Plus it's delicious!
This meal is easy doubled or scaled up to increase the portion size and is super simple. It's perfect meal prep for a week of lunches. You could even make it look a little bit fancier (if you're trying to impress or just feeling lavish!) by making Parmesan crisps and using a skin-on supreme cut of chicken rather than breast or mini fillets. Or, you can make a big batch of the green barley for a vegetarian meal or accompaniment to another dish!
Whatever you make of it, you're sure to enjoy it!
Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Barley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30-40 mins
Special equipment needed:
Zesting tool or small grater
4 Chicken breast fillets
1 ½ litres Chicken stock
250g Pearl barley
30g Fresh basil (roughly chopped, stalks included)
1 Leek (quartered & sliced thinly)
30g Grana Padano (or parmesan - grated)
Oil for cooking
200g Frozen peas
Keep a few basil leaves to the side to garnish & accompany with salad leaves if you like.
Heat oil in a large pan and sweat down the leek and basil
Add the barley, followed by the stock and bring to a simmer
Simmer away until most of the water has been absorbed. This should take around 25 mins and the barley should soften
In a frying pan, using a little oil, pan-fry the chicken breasts until crisp and golden on each side. This should be around 5 mins on each side. Cut through thicker parts of the chicken to ensure it is fully cooked before removing from the pan and leaving to rest
Once the barley is softened and most of the water is gone, add the peas and spinach
Simmer for 2-3 mins until the spinach has all wilted and the peas are warmed through
Now add the lemon zest, juice and parmesan and stir through to fully combine
Now plate up and enjoy or box up for the rest of the week
and remember, anyone can cook!