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Side Dish of Toasted Barley With Sour Cherries, Spinach and Hazelnuts

Side Dish of Toasted Barley With Sour Cherries, Spinach and Hazelnuts

Yield: 8 servings.

1 1/2 cups uncooked pearl barley
1 medium bunch large leaf spinach, washed, stems removed
3/4 cup dried sour cherries (or other dried fruit such as raisins or apricots)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
4 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 cup toasted, coarsely chopped hazelnuts
Tbsp. unsalted butter
orange, zest and juice only as needed, salt as needed, freshly ground black pepper

To Prepare Barley: Place barley in large bowl. Rinse with cold water and strain several times until water runs clear. Drain well. place rinsed and drained barley on half sheet or jellyroll pan. Toast in preheated 350°F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until kernels are lightly browned.

To Prepare Spinach: Bring 2 quarts water to a boil; add 1 tsp. salt. Add spinach leaves; cook 1 minute. Pour spinach into seive; drain and rinse with cold water. Squeeze out any remaining water. Coarsely chop spinach and set aside.

To Prepare Dried Cherries: Soak dried cherries in warm water for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Drain cherries and set aside.

To Prepare Dish: Using 2-4 quart saucepan with cover, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 2 minutes, being careful not to brown. Add stock and stir in toasted barley. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook barley 35-40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Mix in cherries, spinach, hazelnuts, butter, orange zest and juice. Heat through and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Recipe Provided By: Cory Schreiber, Wildwood Restaurant, Portland, Oregon.

Photo Credit: National Barley Foods Council