Lemon Barley Pilaf with Chicken

Barley is a much underrated 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 it is 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.


1 tablespoon olive oil1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 1⁄4 cups pear
l barley
2 1⁄2 cups diluted salt-reduced or homemade chicken stock, hot
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 lemon, zest grated and juiced
1 cup frozen peas
400 grams (14 oz) skinned roasted chicken breast, shredded
50 grams (2 oz) arugula





1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pot over a medium 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 a 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 arugula to the pot and lightly toss together. Serve at once.

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


Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 40 minutes



Per serving: 517 calories, 14 g fat (3 g saturated), 37 g protein, 54 g carbohydrate, 12 g fibre