Wednesday, August 25, 2010

monday - chicken with curried yogurt sauce, barley & wheat berry tabbouleh

I returned home from the airport in the early evening on Monday and was a bit concerned about my dinner plans--I hadn't made a meal plan yet and hadn't been to the store for produce, but I didn't want to eat out. I still had two foil packets of marinated chicken breast in the freezer, so I pulled out the one with a simple sauce of plain yogurt and curry paste. Since I was cooking the chicken in the pressure cooker, I thought it would be a good time to also use it to cook a partial bag of barley I had in my pantry. I found a recipe for tabbouleh in Lorna Sass's cookbook, Pressure Perfect, that called for rice instead of the usual bulgur--I modified it a bit and used barley and some cooked wheat berries that were in my freezer. I was able to piece together a decent meal without a trip to the store using herbs from my garden and some tomatoes that I canned a few weeks ago:

And, through the wonders of the pressure cooker, it was all ready in 20 minutes which was quite a treat after a day of travelling. The barley cooks in 18 minutes under 15 pounds of pressure (as opposed to 45 minutes normally), so after 6 minutes I did a quick-release of the pressure and popped in the foil packet of chicken, returning it to high pressure for another 12 minutes. The chicken was cooked through, although I'm really not a fan of this cooking method--I'm still not sure if the problem comes from freezing the sauce or steaming the packets under pressure, but the texture just isn't great. I have one packet remaining in the freezer, and I think I will defrost that chicken breast, remove it from the packet, and grill or broil it (stay tuned--that's coming up later this week). The barley tabbouleh, however, was delicious--I loved the chewy grains and the fresh flavors of the herbs and lemon, plus the leftovers were great for lunch the next day.

Barley & Wheat Berry Tabbouleh

1 1/2 cups cooked pearl barley
1/2 cup cooked wheat berries
1 pint of canned tomatoes (or 1 15-ounce can), drained and chopped, or 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, finely chopped
1 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

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