Pearl barley and black bean casserole
One of the things I have been wanting to try for the longest time, and have finally managed to, along with bulgur wheat (which is quite delicious!) was pearl barley. And it was not easy to come across it. I ended up getting my hands on a pack during our summer hols, at this little store called Union Jack, at the S. Martinho do Porto bay, that sells brittish goods. It is not quite an affordable thing, not as cheap as a packet of rice or pasta, so I regarded it as a one time treat, and we actually had no idea if we would like it or not.
Months prior I had managed to buy some bulgur wheat and we loved it, but pearl barley is quite quite different. Really. While bulgur is somewhat similar to couscous in taste and texture, barley is one other world. Not for everyone, I grant. My husband hated its texture, me and the boy loved it, and the taste of it, which I find hard to describe. So this is one dish I usually only cook for week lunches, the meals that I share with the kid, as hubby takes his lunch to work. This is a very hearty dish, comforting and fulfilling, bursting with flavours and texture, something that is perfect for these cold days of late. While last year we were granted a very mild yet rainy December, this year the cold has been biting, making us all crave for added warmth in the form of hot beverages and comfort food. This dish hits all the spots.
So in order to make this you will need:
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 3/4 cup of pre cooked black beans (canned is good, I precooked mine on a pressure cooker)
- 3 to four good italian sausages
- 1 small chorizo
- 1 onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- a handfull of rabe or spinach leaves
- a cup of passata
- a small glass of wine
- chilli flakes, olive oil, salt, herbes de provence to season