Thursday, November 24, 2011

a post-thanksgiving pearl barley dish.

there is a lot to be thankful for this thanksgiving. from my wonderful family and friends to the hit TLC show Sister Wives, life is good. i'm particularly thankful this year to be able to actual celebrate the day of being thankful. shockingly, germany isn't one to honor classic american holidays (though they are warming up to halloween...), so i was never able to make it back across the pond the past three years. make-shifting turkey day always worked out fine, but there's something slightly more magical about celebrating it in the states. by magical, i mean: my mom special orders and names a turkey (which i don't eat but somehow feel a warm affection toward), my brothers make assorted dishes out potatoes, my dad grazes on all of the foods as they're being prepared, and my dogs run frantically around the house convinced that the apocalypse is near. this isn't all that out of the ordinary a scene for this household - it's just that on thanksgiving it lasts a whole day rather than just a couple of hours around meal times.

while this tasty barley and chickpea side dish doesn't quite have the traditional thanksgiving flavors, it's the perfect dish to cook up the weekend after thanksgiving - after you've finished off those last leftovers and are craving a bit of spice (tumeric, cayenne) and healthy detoxing nutrients. it isn't particularly spicy, but if you're worried, just use half the amount of spices listed. 

pearl barley with roasted chickpeas 

1 cup pearl barley
2 ½ cups water
1 14oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley

in a small saucepan, bring water, barley, and a dash of salt to boil. lower the heat and cover. cook until done, about 30 minutes.

preheat oven to 400˚F.

in a medium frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. add onions, chickpeas, lemon juice, bay leaves, spices, spices and salt. sauté until chickpeas begin to sizzle (about 7 minutes).

transfer contents to a baking pan and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, stirring half way through.

remove from the oven. take out the bay leaves, and stir in barley and parsley. leave a little parsley for garnish at the end. you can eat this hot, warm, or at room temperature.