Pot-roast chicken with vegetables and barley

A roast dinner with hardly any washing up, what could be better. This dish features chicken, a firm family favourite, and which even in these days of rising costs is still reasonably priced. Read on for more details …

Serves four
1.5-1.8kg/3lb 5oz – 4lb chicken (free-range or organic, if possible)
olive oil, for roasting
½ swede (rutabaga), peeled and chopped
3 carrots, cut into chunks
2 onions, chopped
100g/3½oz pearl barley
2 chicken stock cubes
500ml/18fl oz hot water
2 garlic cloves, flattened
1 tsp dried thyme
1 head spring greens, shredded
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 240C/220C Fan/Gas 9, or as high as it will go.
2. Put the chicken into a large casserole dish, drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes to brown the chicken, then remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7.
3. Transfer the chicken to a plate, then put all the ingredients except the spring greens into the casserole. Lay the chicken on top and cover with the lid.
4. Set the casserole over a high heat for 3-4 minutes, until you hear the liquid in the bottom of the dish start to boil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through completely.
5. Carefully remove the chicken from the pan with a pair of forks or tongs and set aside to rest for 15-20 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, stir the spring greens into the vegetables and pearl barley, cover with a lid and leave to stand while the chicken rests.
7. Carve the chicken and serve with the vegetables.

Each serving provides
447 kcal, 57g protein, 17g carbohydrate (of which 13g sugars), 14.5g fat (of which 3.5g saturates), 10g fibre and 2.5g salt.

Pearl Barley 
… has seen a big revival recently thanks to its high nutritious value and crunchy texture. It is most often cooked in stocks or soups, where it absorbs all the flavours from the liquid. This means that the taste of the grain largely depends on what it’s cooked in.

Pearl barley is harvested from ears of barley. They’re processed so that the hull is removed, and at this point, is known as ‘hulled barley’, ‘dehulled barley’ or ‘pot barley’, which is more prevalent in America than Britain. The bran is still round the grain, which gives it extra nutrients, but also increases the cooking time. For the grain to become pearl barley, it needs to be polished or ‘pearled’. This process removes the outer bran, and gives the grain a shiny appearance.

Pearl barley has a neutral-cereal taste. Its most distinctive feature is its texture. The grains also thicken soups and stews, imparting a creaminess which means that the liquid coats the back of a spoon.

Praised for its high nutritional levels, pearl barley is found in lots of health food shops, as well as the health food, or grain aisle of most mainstream supermarkets. More to read here

Recipe from an original idea here

For readers who may prefer a vegetarian dish, have a look at ‘Vegetarian Stew’ here

We bring a variety of articles and recipe ideas to this blog, and not all may be suitable for you. If you may have any food allergies, or underlying health issues these must always be taken into account. If you are a diabetic and not sure how certain foods may affect your blood sugars, test is best, i.e. use your meter. If you have any concerns about your health, it is always advisable to consult your doctor or health care team.

All the best Jan


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