I WISH I could claim that I have some sort of Mexican heritage and my wise old grandmother taught me this recipe in her homey, wonderfully colourful kitchen, but the truth is this recipe was devised by my father and I in a generously sized semi-detached in not-so-sunny Swindon.
The ingredients are definitely not traditional (soy sauce, anyone?), and the method is super simple, but this is a great, easy midweek supper and I like to think that it packs a flavourful punch that even my imaginary Mexican grandma would be proud of.
I cannot rave enough about the wonder that is pearl barley. It’s cheap (approximately 40p per 500g here in the UK), healthy, and filling, and I could personally devour its chewy goodness by the bucketload. If you’re looking for a new year alternative to your usual rice or pasta, I definitely recommend giving it a try – particularly in this warming, hearty winter stew.
I’m a vegetarian, so I stirred through some Quorn chicken style pieces. However, I’m sure this would work just as well with the real thing. If you’re a meat eater, switch out the veg stock for chicken stock and stir through some bacon lardons for an extra salty, savoury touch.