Friday, August 6, 2021

Beef Barley Casserole: a Recipe

 I made this hearty casserole the other day, and it is definitely a keeper!  I'm on another** use-up-the-half-used-stuff kick, and I had an open box of pearled barley in the cupboard.  You guys.  In 2019, I used up the last of a box of barley that expired in 2011.  And then I bought more barley!  And actually used some.  But not all, of course.  Which is how I ended up with another open box of barley in the cupboard.

When I think of barley, I inevitably think of soup, but I just ... didn't want ... soup.  But barley is a grain, just like rice, and where does rice show up, about half the time?  In casserole recipes.  So I went on the lookout for a barley casserole recipe.  And I found one***.  The problem was, it was more of a side-dish than a main dish.  So I tweaked it a bit to create to this deliciousness that will probably lead to me buying more barley.

This is a filling main dish casserole, with a lovely beef flavor, complemented by the slightly nutty flavor from the toasted barley.  I made mine in a 12" cast iron skillet because my main goal in life is to use as few dishes as possible, but if you don't have an oven-safe stove-top pan, you can transfer it to a greased baking dish before putting it in the oven.  Try it--I think you'll love it.

Beef Barley Casserole  
Adapted from here
Click here to print

1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick)
1 cup quick cooking barley
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 (2 oz. pkg) onion soup mix
2 cups chicken broth, plus more for baking
  1. In a large oven safe skillet or Dutch oven, cook 1 lb ground beef until no pink remains.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Drain excess fat.
  2. In the same pan, melt 1/2 c butter over medium heat. Add 1 c barley and 1 medium chopped onion and sauté until toasted and golden. 
  3. Stir in ground beef, 1/2 c sliced almonds, 1 packet dry onion soup and 2 c chicken broth. 
  4. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes, and adding more liquid* (chicken broth or water) if needed (I used about another 1.5 c of turkey stock).  

* The original recipe says to bake the casserole covered, which would reduce the need for additional liquid, but I really liked my uncovered version.

** I feel like I am almost always on a use-up-the-half-used-stuff kick...

*** I actually found another barley casserole recipe.  It was a tex-mex casserole, and while it sounded good, it just wasn't what I wanted.  

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