Lemon barley pilaf with chicken

    50 min

    Barley is a much under-rated and seldom used grain, which is a great shame since it has a pleasing flavour and texture as well as being a good source of fibre. Here is it cooked with a medley of vegetables in a lemon and thyme stock. The addition of cooked chicken turns the dish into a great main course.

    26 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
    • 2 celery sticks, diced
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • 225g pearl barley
    • 600ml chicken stock, hot
    • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
    • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
    • 150g frozen peas
    • 400g skinned roasted chicken breast, shredded into small pieces
    • 50g rocket

    Prep:15min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Ready in:50min 

    1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over a moderate heat. Stir in the onion, carrots, celery and garlic, then cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned.
    2. Stir in the barley and cook for 1 minute longer. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Add the thyme and lemon zest. Reduce the heat to very low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until the barley is almost soft.
    3. Add the peas, re-cover and simmer for a further 4–5 minutes until the barley is soft but not mushy and all the stock is absorbed. Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
    4. Add the chicken pieces and rocket leaves and lightly toss together. Serve at once.


    This pilaf is also delicious eaten at room temperature as a salad. Allow the pilaf to cool before adding the chicken and rocket leaves.

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    Reviews in English (11)


    Something else. Several changes. 1. Pre-cooked the barley as the cooking time was too short and it was still rather chewy. 2. Used leftover turkey from Christmas and some bacon, which was added towards the end as already cooked. 3. Replaced the rocket with baby spinach. I have added my version of this dish - 'Lemon Barley Pilaf with Turkey & Bacon' to my own site - Meanderings through my Cookbook  -  09 Jan 2011


    Very nice I thought. Didn't think the barley was that bad to cook. A nice and different meal to our usual chicken and rice.  -  31 Jan 2011


    We shall be eating my amended version of this recipe again (see my tweaks above). The lemon flavour is delicious, however the timing for the barley is way out. Would make a good risotto as well. hopeeternal 'Meanderings through my Cookbook' www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com  -  09 Jan 2011