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African Spiced Black Barley w/ Chicken and Tomatoes

Black Barley 2
Every so often, I get a wonderful perk from a company that would like me to “test-drive” their products. Last week it was some great chocolate. (I’ll tell you about that in my next post). A while ago, Larry Kandarian from Kandarian Organic Farms sent me a whole big box of his amazing organic ancient grains and herbs. It’s taken me a while to work through them. I had come up with a few wonderful recipes with his products. I wanted to share this one with you because it’s so different and is a great one dish meal. If you know me, I’m all about healthy and EASY! This is a typical example of both, with a twist on the basic “rice pilaf” sort of thing.

Kandarian Farms Black Barley
I’ve never had black barley. It’s chewy consistency lends itself to many dishes, as it holds up to whatever you throw at it! It originally came from the mountains of Tibet, thousands of years ago. They have protein, potassium, calcium and iron.

And their color isn’t really black. It’s actually dark purple. Know what that means? It’s filled with anti-oxidants like blueberries and grapes!

There are a lot of ways to use this ancient grain. I chose to keep it simple (relatively speaking), and make this dish, which allows you to cook the barley separately, then add everything together. It’s quite tasty. The flavor profile is refreshingly different than your basic Italian or Mexican. Give it a shot!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 C Black Barley (about 1/2 lb)
5 1/2 tbsps vegetable or neutral oil, split
1LB chicken breast, cut into cubes
kosher salt and pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 C Kale, ripped small
1 tsp ground cumin, split
1 tsp ground coriander, split
1/2 tsp cinnamon, split
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, split
pinch of ground cloves or 2 whole cloves

In a medium saucepan, cover barley with water and bring to a boil. Add a pinch of salt. Cover and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally, until barley has split and is tender, but still chewy. About 45 minutes, Drain and transfer to large bowl.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper and half the spices, so it looks like it’s ‘blackened.’ Heat 2 tbsps oil in a saucepan over med-high heat and cook the chicken until just done. 5-7 minutes. Transfer to plate and let settle.

Take a large saucepan, and heat the rest of the oil in it. Add onion and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until tender. About 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderate heat until they start to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and kale and cook another 2 minutes. Add the rest of the spices and stir, until fragrant. Add the barley and chicken and stir again until completely mixed.

Serve in large bowls.

You can also make the vegetarian version of this dish by eliminating the chicken! It’s a great side dish sans the bird.

I’ve already made this twice and am going to make a version with rice for my friend Nancy, who needs a gluten free dish!

2 Responses to “African Spiced Black Barley w/ Chicken and Tomatoes”

  1. Cathy says:

    I can’t wait to try this as I have never had black barley before.