Autumn is the culmination of the year’s bounty and it’s always nice to take the kitchen outside and prepare a slow-cooked meal in the embrace of the surrounding landscape.
Root vegetables are prominent in Norway, and we often find ourselves with a good variety of different types. With a bundle of parsnips and celeriac on hand and cooler temperatures outside, it felt appropriate to make a heartwarming stew featuring these vegetables and one of my favorite grains, barley.
Barley is considered one of the oldest cultivated grains in the world. Not only is it healthy, but the fiber content leaves you feeling satisfied and with sustained energy. While this stew might look simple, it’s full of flavor from the sweetness of the carrots and parsnips, the mild celery taste from the celeriac, the earthiness from the barley and the fat and saltiness from the stock.
I recommend getting outdoors and cooking this over a fire but you can, of course, also cook this on the stove top in the comfort of your kitchen.
While this stew can be eaten alone, it also goes really well with some good sausages that have been cooked alongside it. A sprinkling of cheese and some herb oil takes this stew to a whole new level.
Root Vegetable & Barley Stew
- 3 tablespoons mildly flavored oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 celery root, cut into cubes
- 2 large parsnips, cut into cubes
- 2 large carrots, cut into cubes
- 1 cup (200 g) pearl barley ‘byggryn‘, rinsed
- Couple sprigs of thyme
- 4 ¼ cups (1 litre) vegetable or chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
Warm the oil in a large, deep frying pan or skillet over a grill on top of a prepared fire. Add the vegetables and sauté them until they begin to soften and caramelize, about 15 minutes. Add the barley, sprigs of thyme and stock and cook, uncovered, until the barley has softened, about 25 minutes. If necessary, add more stock throughout the process. When the liquid has absorbed and the barley is softened, it’s ready to serve. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If desired, top with a grated sharp cheese and some herby oil. Serve alone or with your favorite grilled sausages.