Barley Beef Bake.

Grains and pulses – things that grow in pods like peas, beans and chick peas – are an excellent source of protein and rank high on the vegetarian’s list of valuable foods, but those of us who eat meat like to have a bit of dead animal mixed in as well. You could try making this very economical dish into a vegetarian meal by omitting the meat, adding more barley and using a vegetable stock.

Ingredients.

¼ cup olive oil.

500g minced beef.

2 onions, diced.

6 cloves garlic, chopped.

½ cup barley.

2 tsp curry powder [or to taste].

2 tsp ground cumin.

½ tsp cinnamon.

Salt to taste.

2 cups cooked chick peas.

1 cup chicken stock.

Juice and zest of a large lemon.

½ cup pinenuts*.

½ cup sultanas.

Method.

Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame. Brown the meat all over then add the onions and garlic. Stir through and cook until soft then add the barley, spices and salt. Cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes then add the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Stir in the chick peas, pinenuts, raisins and the lemon. Transfer the mixture into an over-proof casserole and bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Serve hot with stir fried vegetables and brown onion or mushroom sauce on the side.

Serves: 4-6.

*. And/or walnuts, cashews, almonds or hazel nuts.

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