When boiled, barley becomes plump and tender. Adding the peel of any citrus fruit to the water while cooking lends a subtle flavor to the slight nuttiness of the barley.
Makes about 2 ½ cups cooked barley
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Peel of 1 large lemon, lime or orange, cut in several thin strips
- 1 cup hulled barley
- 2 ½ cups water
- 1 bay leaf, optional
- ½ – 1 teaspoon salt
In saucepan, over high heat, add olive oil. Add the citrus slices and stir just until fragrant. Stir in barley and cook 1-2 minutes to slightly toast. Stir in water, bay leaf and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and cook for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and let sit for about 10-15 minutes to steam. Fluff with a fork and remove any peels.
Drain any excess liquid. Serve or refrigerate for later use. You may want to leave the bay leaves and citrus peels in the barley until ready for use as the flavors will continue to meld and intensify.
Pressure cooker method:
I prefer to use a pressure cooker when cooking grains as it cuts the cooking time down considerably.
In a 4 or 6 qt pressure cooker, over high heat, add olive oil. Add the citrus slices and stir just until fragrant. Stir in barley and cook 1-2 minutes to slightly toast. Stir in water, bay leaf and salt. Lock pressure lid into place. Bring pressure up to the second indicator ring. Reduce heat to maintain pressure. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let pressure naturally release. Remove lid. Fluff with a fork and remove bay leaf and citrus peels if desired.