Friday, 11 March 2016

Cheese & Carrot Barley Casserole

I enjoyed this very much. Mr. Ferdzy thought it was too "vegetarian". Huh? He used to be a vegetarian... and mostly liked it, as far as I can tell. What he meant, I decided, is that he doesn't love barley or cooked carrots. Fair enough. I'll be perfectly happy to eat his share.

As usual with this kind of thing, the left-overs hold together better than the first serving. It keeps and reheats reasonably well. There's a nice balance between the cheesy richness and the barley and veggies. I thought the tomato sauce was a good addition; it made it a bit like a more restrained version of lasagne, but I can also see this with Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy.

4 to 6 servings
1 hour 15 minutes - 15 minutes prep time
not including cooking the barley

Cheese & Carrot Barley Casserole

Cook the Barley:
1/2 cup pot or pearl barley
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Everything into the rice-cooker; turn on; wait. Or, into a pot and brought to a boil, then reduced to a low temperature and simmered until the barley is tender; about 45 minutes. This can be done the day before. 

Make the Casserole:
1 large or 2 medium carrots (2 cups grated)
1 large or 2 medium  onions (1 cup chopped)
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
1 teaspoon rubbed basil
250 grams (1/2 pound) ricotta cheese
1 cup grated old Cheddar cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
a dab of butter

 Peel and grate the carrot. Peel and chop the onion. Heat the oil in a medium skillet and cook the vegetables, with the seasonings, until softened and the onions are translucent. Transfer to a mixing bowl.

Mix in the cooked, at least somewhat cooled, barley. Mix in the ricotta and Cheddar cheeses. Break the eggs in, and blend them in well. Mix in the milk.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a 9" pie plate or shallow 2 quart casserole dish. Scrape the mixture into the dish and spread it out evenly and firmly. Bake for 45 minutes, until lightly browned.

Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving, with a little tomato sauce poured over it, if liked.

Last year at this time I made Welsh Rabbit.


Karen said...

Def. going to try this one. Very fond of barley and always at a loss about how to cook them, other than Scotch broth.....

Ferdzy said...

Barley is actually very suitable for casseroles; also I do a number of "orzottos", like a risotto, only barley.