Butternut and Barley Pilaf

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My mom emailed me the link to this recipe from Eating Well.com.  She made it and said that end result was a like a risotto.  I made this recipe a few weeks ago and I am now getting around to posting it.  Here is the description from Eating Well:

“Winter squash contributes a rich, full flavor to a simple barley pilaf. Gremolata, an Italian mixture of parsley, lemon zest and garlic, gives the dish a lively finish. The pilaf is an excellent accompaniment to chicken and pork, but would stand on its own with the addition of Parmesan.”

I made this as a side to go along with chicken breasts that I cooked in a traditional French Dijon-mushroom sauce but this is so hearty and filling that it could be used as a meal with a small side salad.  I bought the squash already peeled and cubed to make it easier although it would be cheaper to buy the whole squash and peel it yourself. I also choose to use the vegetable broth to keep it vegetarian and to give it more flavor.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken broth, or vegetable broth
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash, (3/4-inch cubes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add broth, water, barley and squash; bring to a simmer.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the barley and squash are tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Add parsley, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper; mix gently.

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