Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Chicken with Leeks and Barley - An Anglo-Saxon Recipe

I found this recipe on the internet, although it comes from The British Museum Cookbook by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, and is adapted from a 7th century British recipe. It sounds very plain, but it is surprisingly good. The leeks, vinegar and sage combine very well. I used a good bit more barley than called for, and even so, I wouldn't say it makes 6 servings. I've made a few other tweaks as well, and I suppose I should also confess that I prefer it made with dried sage. I find fresh sage to be just too overwhelming in flavour.

4 servings
2 hours - 30 minutes prep time

Chicken with Leeks and Barley, An Anglo-Saxon Recipe3 large leeks
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
3 pounds skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces

3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups pot barley
4 cups (1 litre, or 1 quart) chicken stock
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 bay leaves
salt & pepper
1 tablespoon dried sage, or 2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage

Trim the leeks, chop them, and rinse them well. Peel and mince the garlic. Cut the chicken into pieces, if it is necessary.

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet, and sauté the leeks until soft. Add the garlic, and sauté for a minute or two more. Put them in a large pot with the barley and the chicken stock.

Heat the remaining butter in the skillet, and sauté the chicken pieces until nicely browned on each side. Put them in the pot with barley and leeks.

Add the vinegar, bay leaves, salt and pepper, and simmer, covered, until the barley is tender; about 1 hour. Stir very gently if it seems to be sticking, otherwise don't bother. Add the sage about 15 or 20 minutes before the barley is done.

Serve garnished with a little parsley, if you like and if you have some.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

This sounds pretty interesting. I imagine the sage add a surprising amount of flavour.