pearl barley salad with harissa spiced chicken


I hesitated sharing this recipe because the preparation is a bit fussy.  Many prep and cooking techniques are utilized here:  chopping, peeling, blanching, sautéing, marinating…you get the idea.  

My motto is “If I’m going to make this many dishes dirty, then it better be worth it!”,  and this recipe definitely is.  So many fresh veggies, perfectly spiced chicken (remember the harissa from these amazing potatoes?), and hearty pearl barley-this “salad” can be eaten warm or cold.  I doubled the recipe and after we ate it as a main dinner course, there were several lunch portion servings leftover.  No fewer than five coworkers commented on my delicious looking and smelling lunch!

So, don’t be daunted.

pearl barley salad with harissa spiced chicken (from What Kate Ate)

1-7 ounce chicken breast fillet, cut lengthwise into thirds

1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 cup pearl barley

juice of one lemon

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 head broccoli, trimmed into florets

1 zucchini, cut lengthwise then sliced into 1/4-inch pieces

2 green onion, thinly sliced (white and green parts)

1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely diced

large handful of arugula or romaine leaves, finely chopped

marinade for chicken:

juice of one lemon

1 tsp harissa paste

1 Tbsp olive oil

pinch of sea salt

1).  Marinade the chicken:  whisk together marinade ingredients in a small bowl.  Place chicken breast strips in a shallow bowl and pour marinade over, turning chicken breasts to coat.  Place in refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.

2).  Place pearl barley in a saucepan with 3 cups water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer over low heat for 35-40 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Place in a large bowl and set aside to cool.  In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, 1 Tbsp olive, sea salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over pearl barley and stir to coat.

3).  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the broccoli for 2-3 minutes.  Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop cooking.  Drain again and set aside.

4).  Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil and sauté zucchini until slightly tender, about 4-5 minutes.  Remove zucchini from pan.

5).  In the same skillet over medium heat, add the chicken along with the marinade and cook chicken until done, about 10-15 minutes.  Marinade should be bubbly and reduced slightly.  Remove chicken and marinade from skillet and set aside to rest about 5 minutes.  Slice or shred chicken into bite size pieces.

Place chicken, almonds, pearl barley, broccoli, zucchini, green onions, bell pepper and lettuce into the large bowl with the pearl barley and mix thoroughly to combine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

pearl barley

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