I have been making a lot of lemon barley water during this very hot weather, and the difficulty is to know what to do with the barley! There is a limit to the amount of barley salad I can eat, much though I love it, and although it is quite nice plain with, for instance, some cooked chicken (I cooked chicken thighs with garlic on the stove top and then soaked the cooked barley in the juices that had run off from them), I thought I would try it as the "pasta" in macaroni cheese. It was very good indeed. This is my almost-vegan version of mucky cheese - if you wanted it to be completely vegan you could substitute a vegan "cheese" recipe (they are ubiquitous, just Google) or just add a little nutritional yeast to the sauce, and top the dish with Becca's delicious crispy garlic breadcrumbs. But for those who do eat cheese, this is delicious "as is".
1/2 cup raw pearl barley, boiled in 1 litre water until cooked (15 minutes in Instant Pot); drained.
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 small tin sweetcorn
1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
3 tsp plain flour (1 small tbs)
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbs cooking oil (I used stir-fry oil to add a bit of oomph)
Grated cheese (Cheddar or Emmenthal works best) - I used a 200g packet of mature Cheddar.
Drain the tin of sweetcorn and mix it with the barley. Meanwhile, fry the onions in the cooking oil until soft. Place the tomatoes, flour and seasoning in a blender and work until smooth. Pour the result on to the onions, and bring to the boil, stirring all the time. Remove from heat and stir in half the grated cheese, until it has melted, at which point pour the sauce over the barley and sweetcorn and stir well. Top with the rest of the cheese (or with crispy garlic breadcrumbs, if you prefer) and bake in a moderately slow oven for about 45 minutes. Lush!