Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Apricot Barley Casserole


In the interest of full disclosure, this is not and never will be a food blog. I am not a great cook. No one will starve in this household, but neither will they become accustomed to fussed-over meals. It's just not in me.

The proof is in the pudding--a true "foodie" writing on her food blog would not wait until AFTER the meal is mostly consumed to take a picture of the leftovers resting in a plastic storage container.

So now that we have the disclaimers out of the way, I'd like to share a favorite recipe. It's for a side dish (watch below for how to make it a main dish) and feeds a crowd. I made it most recently for a church potluck.

Apricot Barley Casserole

2/3 cup slivered almonds
4 Tbsp. butter, divided into 2 equal parts
2 cups pearl barley
1 cup sliced green onions (optional)
6 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup diced dried apricots
1/2 cup golden raisins

In a large skillet, sauté nuts in 2 Tbsp. butter untjil lightly browned; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, sauté the barley and onions in remaining butter until onions are tender. Add broth; bring to a boil. Stir in apricots, raisins and browned almonds. Pour into a 10" x 14" glass rectangular casserole dish (or whatever you have that will hold this, with room for expansion). Bake, uncovered, at 325ºF for 75 minutes, or until barley is tender.

Now green onions aren't in season, but I had some regular large yellow cooking onions. The closest I could come to broth was chicken bouillon cubes added to hot water. I wasn't in the mood for apricots, and didn't have any golden raisins (what, do I look like a foodie?). What I did have was craisins (dried cranberries) and some leftover pork loin. I substituted the craisins for the apricots AND the raisins, and chopped up the leftover cooked pork loin and added it in last, just before pouring it over into the glass dish.

Either way, it's good--as a side dish, with apricots and raisins, or as a main dish, with dried cranberries. Give it a try!

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