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Sophie’s baked pearled barley with all the early autumn veggies

Sophie’s baked pearled barley with all the early autumn veggies

I’ve been really getting into all the grains this year: think millet, quinoa, buckwheat and pearled barley. I think the barley is my favourite, so when I saw this recipe for baked pearled barley in Sophie Hansen’s new cookbook What Can I Bring?  I jumped straight in.

I introduced you to Sophie’s cookbook last week. It’s fair to say my enthusiasm leapt off the page almost as high as my jumping after this baked pearled barley recipe.

What Can I Bring by Sophie Hansen

Speaking of which, I’ve always called it ‘pearl barley’, but since Sophie’s gone for ‘pearled’, that’s what we’re calling it. Along with the pearled barley, her recipe is chockas with slow-cooked veggies like zucchini, tomato, corn and eggplant. Just reading the ingredients list had me salivating, but the eating had me practically weeping. I love this dish that much.

As with all the recipes in What Can I Bring? , this dish is perfect for making ahead and transporting to share with your gang, wherever you’re celebrating. So far I’ve only made this one for the fam, but I can picture a cool autumn night, a gathering of friends, a large bonfire, and many fairy lights in it’s next outing.

Who will you share this one with?

Baked pearled barley with all the early autumn veggies

From What Can I Bring? by Sophie Hansen

Baked pearl barley with all the early autumn veggies

This recipe does a few things well: firstly, it uses a heap of the beautiful vegetables in season around early autumn (think zucchini/courgette, tomato, corn and eggplant/aubergine). Next, it feeds a load of people in one tasty package. And, finally, it’s not at all hard to throw together and doesn’t mind being left out at room temperature for a while (within reason). One more – it’s almost tastier as leftovers reheated with buttered toast.

Takes 20 mins
Bakes 1 hour 40 mins
Makes 6–8 as a side

  • 1 cup (200 g) pearled barley
  • ¼  cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 zucchini (courgettes), cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes
  • 2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 eggplant (aubergine), cut into 2 cm (¾ inch) cubes
  • 2 cups (500 ml) tomato passata (puréed tomatoes)
  • 1 handful basil leaves
  • 1 cup (60 g) chunky breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup (100 g) freshly grated parmesan
  • 1 cup (130 g) mozzarella, torn into rough pieces

Rinse the pearled barley until the water runs clear then place in a saucepan and fill with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for about 25 minutes, or until al dente, then drain.

Heat half the olive oil in a deep-sided ovenproof frying pan and cook the onion for about 15 minutes, or until completely soft and beginning to caramelise. Add the garlic and cook for a few more minutes. Remove the onion and garlic from the pan and set aside.

Return the pan to the heat, add a splash more oil, increase the heat to high and fry the zucchini and corn kernels until softened and starting to colour, about 10 minutes. Transfer these to the dish with the onion. Add a splash more oil and fry the tomatoes and eggplant for about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).

Return all of the vegetables to the frying pan and add the passata with ½ cup (125 ml) water and the basil leaves, then stir to combine. Season well with salt and black pepper. Add the barley to the pan and stir to combine.

Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and cheese, and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden and crunchy.

Travel advice

Cover tightly with foil to keep warm, and rest easy knowing that this will sit happily at room temperature for a reasonable amount of time, getting more and more delicious while it waits for you. You can also make it a couple of days in advance and keep it chilled, then reheat it on arrival or serve at room temperature.

Images and text from What Can I Bring? By Sophie Hansen, photography by Sophie Hansen. Murdoch Books RRP $49.99.

What Can I Bring by Sophie Hansen