Bacon Barley

This simple dish is very tasty, and can be served at a winter or spring banquet because it uses only stored foods. This kind of one-pot wonder is very much the sort of dish that Vikings would have cooked.

Serves 10-15 people as a starter.



Soak the barley in cold water for a couple of hours. This reduces the cooking time significantly, thus saving precious fuel. If you forgot to do this and have modern technology available, put the barley in a pot when you start cooking, pour boiling water on it and let it stand until you need to add it to the bacon and onion. This will take quite a while off the cooking time. If you don't presoak barley at all it can take an hour or more to cook.

Melt the butter in a big saucepan. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes. Then add the bacon and continue to fry gently, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is no longer pink.

Add the barley, herbs and pepper. Stir it around and then add water until the barley is covered to a depth of about an inch. Cover, bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Then uncover and continue to cook for another 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary, until the barley is tender and the water all absorbed.

A vegetarian version can be made by frying vegetables such as leeks, carrots, mushrooms and nuts with the onion, and optionally adding dried fruit with the barley.

Shelagh Lewins

Back to Shelagh's Home Page