A staple crop in the colonies, barley was the centerpiece of many family meals. Meat was expensive and not consumed on a regular basis outside of the upper class. George Washington mentions planting it in his detailed farming notes from Mount Vernon and while some of his crop was used to make whisky, Martha Washington included several recipes for its use in her Booke of Cookery suggesting that even those at the top of the social ladder enjoyed this hearty grain.
6 cups water
2 cups regular pearl barley
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large saucepan, combine the water, barley and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook about 25 minutes, until al dente. Drain the barley in a colander and reserve.
- In the same saucepan, sauté the shallot and garlic in the butter over medium heat for 2 minutes, until golden. Stir in the reserved barley, parsley and curry. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Transfer to a serving dish and serve hot.