Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Green barley and kale gratin

Here's a dish I've wanted to try for a long time, and finally my stars were aligned in that I had some cooked barley on hand, some kale in the fridge, and even some leftover béchamel with a vegetable stock base to add in. After everything came together, it seemed to me that I had too much sauce (not Deborah Madison's fault since my leftovers amounted to a little less barley and a little more sauce than she calls for), so I tossed in a few tablespoons of raw couscous.

Ms. Madison writes about this recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, "Not a dowdy dish at all—the kale turns the barley bright green." Well…I'll let you be the judge of that. I can say that the taste was absolutely delicious, so I'll be making this again. I found the recipe here so I'll share it with you (veganized but otherwise unchanged):

Green barley and kale gratin
from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

2/3 cup pearl barley, rinsed
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 large bunch kale, about 1 1/4 pounds stems entirely removed
2 tbsp Earth Balance
3 tbsp flour
1 1/2 cups soy or rice milk or basic vegetable stock
1/4 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp grated nutmeg


In a saucepan, add the barley to 1 quart boiling water with 1/2 tsp salt and simmer uncovered until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, cook the kale in a skillet of boiling salted water until tender, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain, then puree with 1/4 cup of the cooking water until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Melt the Earth Balance in a small saucepan, whisk in the flour, then add the soymilk or stock. Cook, stirring constantly over medium heat, until thick. Season with allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Combine all of the ingredients, check the seasoning and transfer to a lightly oiled baking dish or ramekins.

Bake until lightly browned on top, about 30 minutes. If you’ve used ramekins, run a knife around the edges, then unmold them by giving them a sharp rap on the counter. Present them browned side up.

Served here with oven-fried sweet potatoes, a few seitan meatballs (one tip: don't process the seitan too fine, as I did here, or the balls will be dry), and a simple green salad.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh, thanks for the recipe; it sounds really earthy, healthy and delicious.