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.