Hi-Protein Lo-GI Improvised Reinvented Rarebit a la Leftovers/Pantry
I've been all about barley recently. I love barley. But I can't eat a whole bowl of it, like I could brown rice or sushi rice, even if you mock risotto/pilaf it up; there is something about barley to my palate that makes it better as ingredient #2, dearly as I love its chewy bite. (To wit: I have been wondering if it would be good with pasta, used in the way you use groats; i.e., like kasha with bowties. I have some oricchiette and I keep thinking they'd be good with barley that way.)
Anyhow, tonight's suddenly improvised very suppery dinner dish arose out of a lot of anticipatory wondering about the leftover barley in my fridge. It tasted incredibly good. Must change title, though. Cheesy Barley Bowl or something.
- Put two pieces of seriously whole-grain bread to toast. Over-toasted, but not burned, is an ideal state for this part of the dish. So tough and toasted it wouldn't be fun to chew on its own. Let it sit in the toaster while you prepare the rest of the dish.
- In a saucepan make a quick veloute with butter/flour (2-3 T/2-3 T) and 2 c. of chicken stock, a decent no-salt low-fat kind. After it's thickened add a little salt and lots of pepper, dry mustard and dried thyme. (I think a glug of good white wine, some beer or cider would have been good here.)
- Add chiz. Lots of cheese. Sharp, but not turbo-sharp, is good, with some creaminess to it. Stir until it's very melted, keeping an eye on heat (all along here) so nothing burns. Tis easy to do with cheese sauce. Also, don't severely reduce the sauce at this point or any point either. Will need the looseness to accomodate the next step.
- Add 1-1/2 C. leftover cooked barley to the cheese sauce. (In this case it had been previously cooked in chicken stock itself with a little butter.) Stir vigorously to break up and let it steam in the sauce, lose any dryness it might have from its leftover status.
- In a skillet break up into tiny pieces one big organic hamburger, c. 5-6 oz (hi Bill Kurtis!), and let it brown quickly, draining fat. When it's almost done, add a couple T. each of Worchestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar and let the mixture continue to cook quickly, shaking pan occasionally, to make a kind of glaze. Scrape entire contents to the cheese sauce, and again, stir like hell.
- Break up super-toased grainy bread into a big bowl (could butter it) and ladle big ladles of incredibly hot sauce over the toast, keeping in mind that bread will absorb a lot of the liquid so you need an unbalanced mix to start. Eat with a fork and a big soup spoon for cutting.