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Getting back to barley.

It may seem ironic that one of the world's most wholesome grains originated in the highlands of Ethiopia. From there it spread throughout the ancient world. Hebrews of the Bible used it to make their unleavened bread. The Romans took it along on their conquests. Until the 16th century it was the staple grain of Europe, and it is still commonly found in breads and cereals of Scotland and Scandinavia.

Barley has remained almost unchanged throughout five millennia of domestication and human consumption. But only recently have scientists discovered just how valuable a food source it truly is. In the search for high-protein grains, they have found barley is one of the highest in lysine, the essential amino acid most often lacking in cereal grains. In addition, they've discovered that barley, like oats, contains water-soluble fiber, the kind of fiber many scientists now believe helps the body lower blood cholesterol.

So why aren't Americans eating more barley? That's what home economists at Montana State University want to know. To help popularize this underused grain, they've put together some tasty new barley recipes--from soups even better than the usual to muffins, breads, main dishes and desserts.

Americans should be aware that this versatile grain is now becoming available in other forms than the usual pearl barley, says a Montana State University nutritionist, Dr. Rosemary Newman. Barley flour can be used to make breads, pastries, cookies, muffins and cakes. Barley flakes, similar to rolled oats, but thicker and chewier, are good for cookies, hot cereal, breads and homemade granola. Barley grits--a cracked, parboiled product a bit like bulgur wheat--are excellent for baked goods and in salads. Barley grits are common in Scandinavia and Britain but still rare in the United States.

Dr. Newman offers these tips for barley users:

* Barley flour may not yet be available at your supermarket, but you can make your own by putting half a cup of pearled barley at a time into a blender at high speed for one to three minutes, depending on the fineness you desire.

* Don't sift barley flour, or you'll lose important nutrients.

* Barley flour has less gluten than wheat, so it's best to use not more than one-fourth to one-half barley in raised yeast breads.

* Barley has a tendency to absorb water, so when you substitute it in your own recipes, the mixture will tend to appear drier. Add a small amount of liquid if this problem occurs.

* Barley flour makes an excellent thickener for soups, graves, stews and sauces. Although not as smooth as refined flour, barley flour will thicken and add flavor and nutrients.

The following barley recipes were tested in the Post's kitchens. Try them, and you'll agree it's time to take this nutritious and delicious grain off the back burner.

Swiss Hot Cereal (Makes 4 servings) 1 cup pearled barley 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1/4 cup sesame seeds 1/4 cup wheat germ 1/4 cup coconut 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups water 1/j cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

Pulverize barley in blender or food processor. Heat oil in a heavy pan. Add barley, sesame seeds, wheat germ and coconut. Saute until light brown. Add salt, water and dried fruit. Cover and steam about 25 minutes until barley is fluffy. Serve with milk and honey or brown sugar.

Swedish Flat Bread (Makes 16 loaves) 5 teaspoons active dry yeast 3 tablespoons warm water 2 cups whole milk 4 teaspoons margarine 2 teaspoons salt 3 tablespoons light corn syrup 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed 3 cups barley flour 2 cups white wheat flour

Dissolve active dry yeast in a cup with 3 tablespoons warm water (110[deg.]F.). In a saucepan warm milk and margarine to 110[deg.]F. Add this to yeast mixture. Stir in salt, syrup, caraway seeds and barley flour. Slowly fold in the remaining 2 cups of white wheat flour and work into a soft dough. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. Cut into 16 pieces of equal size (about 5" in diameter). Pierce or indent with a fork on the top portion. Bake at 500[deg.]F. on a greased cookie sheet for approximately ( minutes. The loaves should have raised, browned areas over the top surface. Cool under a towel and serve.

Refrigerator Barley-Bran Muffins (Makes 4 dozen muffins) 2 cups boiling water 6 cups bran flakes 1 cup vegetable shortening 1/2 cup honey 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup molasses 4 eggs 4 cups buttermilk 5 cups barley flour 5 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons salt

Pour boiling water over 2 cups of bran flakes; cool slightly. In mixer, on high speed, cream shortening, honey, sugar and molasses. Add eggs and buttermilk and mix well. Sift dry ingredients together and add to wet. Stir until well coated. Add soaked bran and remaining bran and stir well. You may refrigerate batter in covered container and bake as needed. Store up to 4 weeks. Fill well-greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18 minutes at 400[deg.]F.

Barley Bean Salad (Makes 6 servings) 3/4 cup raw pearled barley 2 tablespoons soy sauce 1 bay leaf 1 cup navy beans, cooked or canned 1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced 1 cup green beans, 1" pieces, steamed 2/3 cup sliced black olives 2 tablespoons scallions, minced 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced 1/2 cup plain yogurt 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup red wine vinegar 1/2 teaspoon sweet basil 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram 1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cook the barley (2-1/2 parts water to 1 part barley) and add soy sauce and bay leaf to the cooking water. When the barley is done (about 30 minutes), remove the bay leaf and allow the barley to cool to room temperature. Transfer barley to a mixing bowl. Add beans, cucumber, green beans, olives, scallions and parsley and mix well. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour over the salad and toss until everything is evenly coated. This salad can be served immediately or it can stand an hour or so at room temperature or refrigerated.

Creamy Barley Mushroom Soup (Makes 6 to 8 servings) 3/4 cup pearled barley 1 large onion, chopped 1 large carrot, chopped 2 bay leaves 2 tablespoons margarine 2-1/2 cups water or vegetable stock 1 medium potato, diced 1 large celery, finely chopped 1/4 cup parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon dried dill weed 1/2 teaspoon dried summer savory 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped 2 cups milk 2 tablespoons barley flour

Place barley, onion, carrot, bay leaves and margarine in a large pot with water or vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Add potato, celery, parsley and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Add mushrooms and milk; cover and simmer over very low heat for about 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender but not overdone. Dissolve the flour in just enough water (1/2 cup or 125 ml.) to make a smooth, flowing paste and whisk it quickly into the soup. Allow the soup to stand for 5-10 minutes off the heat before serving. It thickens if it is refrigerated. Add more milk or water as needed and adjust the seasonings.

Chicken-Broccoli Chowder (Makes 6 servings) 10-1/2 ounces chicken bouillon 2 cups carrots, diced 1/2 cup onion, chopped 3 cups water 1 package (10 oz.) chopped frozen broccoli 1/2 cup barley flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups milk 1-1/2 cups chicken, precooked and chopped 1-1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated 1/2 teaspoon marjoram 4 ounces chow-mein noodles

Place the bouillon, carrots, onion and 2-1/2 cups water in a saucepan (reserve 1/2 cup). Bring to a medium boil and reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease 4-qt. casserole dish and add broccoli. Set casserole dish aside. Place barley flour, salt and 1/2 cup water in a jar and shake until well mixed. Bring saucepan mixture to a rolling boil and add flour-water mixture. Stir constantly. Add milk and chicken pieces. Lower heat and continue to cook for 10 additional minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese and marjoram. Pour into 4-quart casserole dish and sprinkle with noodles. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.

Baked Spanish Stew (Makes 6 servings) 3/4 cup pearled barley 1-1/2 cups water 1 pound lean ground beef 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1/2 cup celery, chopped 1/2 cup green pepper, chopped 2 tablespoons oil 1-1/4 teaspoons salt Pepper, to taste 1/2 teaspoon marjoram 1 teaspoon sugar 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1/2 cup chili (hot) sauce 3-1/2 cups canned tomatoes, chopped (including liquid) 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated 1/2 cup sliced black olives Tortilla or corn chips for garnish

Cook barley in water by bringing to a boil and then simmering for 30 minutes in covered saucepan. Saute: ground beef, onion, celery and green pepper in oil. Drain off excess fat from beef. Stir in salt, pepper, marjoram, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, canned tomatoes and barley. Bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes. Pour into casserole dish. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Lay sliced olives on top of cheese. Form a bed of tortilla chips around edges of casserole. Bake in 350[deg.]F. oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

Helen's Barley Pilaf

(Makes 8 servings) 3/4 pound sliced mushrooms 1/4 pound margarine 2 medium onions, chopped 1-3/4 cups pearled barley 6 cups chicken broth or beef bouillon

Preheat oven to 350 [deg.] F. Saute mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of the margarine, remove from pan. Add remaining margarine and saute onions until soft. Add barley and coat well with butter. Stir over medium heat until lightly browned. Placed barley, onions and mushrooms in greased casserole dish. Add half the broth or bouillon and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Add remaining broth and bake 30 minutes longer or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.

Note: If using homemade stock, add salt to taste.

Zucchini Beef-Barley Pie

(Makes 2 servings) Shell 1 pount lean ground beef 2/3 cup barley flakes 1/3 cup ketchup 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1 large egg 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco Filling 2 medium zucchini 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded 1/3 cup ketchup 1/2 cup black olive leaves 1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves 1/2 teaspoon basil leaves 8 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 350[deg.]F. For shell: combine ingredients and mix well. Pat into bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie shell and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drain moisture and fat. For filling: Steam sliced zucchini (1/4"-thick slices) for 5 minutes and rinse in cold water. Drain. Combine half the mozzarella cheese and the next four ingredients. Spoon into the shell and top with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remover from over and let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into pielike slices.
COPYRIGHT 1985 Saturday Evening Post Society
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1985 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Author:Irwin, Christopher
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Date:Apr 1, 1985
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Next Article:Georgia's answer to Eden; Callaway Gardens.

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