Roasted Vegetable and Barley Stew
The sweetness of the parsnips and cabbage really come out with roasting. Soaking the barley for at least 6 hours is crucial to having it cook faster. As this is a hearty stew, you may want to make it later in the week when the weather turns cold and rainy again. Serves 4-6.
4 slices of bacon
1 small onion, sliced thin
1/2 head of savoy cabbage, roughly chopped into 1 pieces w/leaves separated
1 tsp. salt
1 lb. potatoes, scrubbed and diced into 3/4 cubes
1 1/2 lb. parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4 pieces
1 TB olive oil
1 cup pearled barley, rinsed, soaked over night and drained
4 cups vegetable stock
2 TB balsamic vinegar
2 TB maple syrup
2 TB chopped fresh basil or parsley, -or- 1 tsp. dried rubbed sage
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 450F. In a large heavy-bottomed pot, cook bacon over medium heat. When bacon is finished cooking, remove, cool, crumble and reserve. Increase heat to medium-high. Add sliced onion to hot bacon fat and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add half of the cabbage pieces, sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt and toss to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the cabbage begins to wilt (3-5 minutes). Add remaining cabbage, sprinkle with remaining salt and toss with already warmed cabbage. Once the new cabbage begins to wilt, add potatoes and parsnips and toss to coat. Pour mixture onto large cookie sheet or sheet pan. Roast in hot oven for approximately 30 minutes, tossing veggies every 10 minutes. 15 minutes into the cooking time, sprinkle veggies with vinegar and maple syrup and toss to coat. Continue roasting.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in clean heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add drained barley and cook, stirring frequently, for about a minute. Add broth, bring to boil, cover and simmer until barley is al dente, about 30 minutes. Add roasted vegetables and reserved crumbled bacon to the cooked barley. Add dried or fresh herbs and stir to combine. Season to taste. Serve warm with crusty bread.