Thinking of what made this meal and photo shoot beautiful I came to a conclusion, that it most probably was its simplicity. Both for the soup, and the chicken. The main idea is to prepare and photograph something perhaps not so attractive – both to look at and eat, as Pearl Barley, and something so usual as the roast chicken may seem, too, and combine these two in one delicious, good – looking image. It just needed an idea, and that arrived with one of the simple soup recipes.
I cannot remember anyone of my family using Pearl Barley much in their cooking, or at all, neither among friends, and therefore I was quite delighted to find out how easily one can work with it, and how nice the effect is – it is mild, filling and comforting.
Combined with herbs, like thyme, bay leaf or parsley, and vegetables, nothing can go wrong. Add savoury chicken and there you have it.
You can choose your own version, of course, depending whether you want to keep it purely vegetarian, or add the meat. I went for the meat version.
For the base of the soup I used vegetable oil, with a large chopped onion, topped with a rich mixture of cleaned, sliced and chopped vegetables of more kinds – celery sticks, carrots, leeks, and a potato. Cooked all together with Pearl Barley in vegetable stock, seasoned with salt and black pepper.
I cooked the soup, or stew if you like, as the barley thickens it all a bit, in a heavy iron pot, on low heat for about an hour and half, it took less time for the barley than suggested on the packaging.
Meanwhile I roasted the chicken legs.
First, though, I had them lightly fried on a few tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy iron pan, too, till they browned well. I used salt and thyme to add flavour to the meat.
We liked this dish for our supper the other week, and am glad even the Little Person was quite alright with the whole of the menu that day. Despite the fact he considered Pearl Barley to be some kind of pasta, all was perfectly fine with him. Happy Mum, wink.