Jerusalem Artichoke, Mushroom and Feta Pearl Barley
Jerusalem artichokes are a wonderful winter vegetable that are often overlooked by the home cook. I think, because these purplish-brown knobbly tubers are a bit ‘interesting’ looking and are used in restaurants, they are thought to be difficult to cook. Plus, their name is off-putting as artichokes are thought to be tricky to prepare. This is really not the case, especially as they’re not related to artichokes in anything other name (owing to their flavour). They can be cooked in the same way as parsnips, potatoes or other root veg. Boiling them works fine, but I would recommend roasting or, for speed, slicing thinly and cooking in butter as I have done in this recipe for jerusalem artichoke, mushroom and feta pearl barley.
The nutty sweetness of jerusalem artichokes cooked in butter is rich and comforting with earthy mushrooms and pearl barley. Add to that the fresh zing of lemon and salty feta and you have a simple but delicious meal. I’ve added parsley to finish the dish as it’s one of the herbs on the window sill that’s survived winter, but you can use any other soft, fresh herbs you have in stock. This could be called a pearl barley risotto or a warm salad; whatever you’d prefer to call it, enjoy.
Jerusalem Artichoke, Feta and Pearl Barley Recipe
80g pearl barley
300g jerusalem artichokes
2tbsp olive oil
20g unsalted butter
180g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
2 garlic cloves, sliced
small handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 Boil the pearl barley in salted water for 25–30 minutes until tender but still al dente.
2 Meanwhile, scrub the artichokes with a vegetable brush to remove any dirt then cut them into 1cm thick rounds. Heat the olive oil and butter in a frying pan then cook the artichoke slices on a medium heat for 8–10 minutes until soft and turning golden. Spoon the artichokes out of the pan and onto a plate.
3 Return the pan to the heat and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for a few minutes without stirring then take off the heat and cover with a lid. Set aside for 5 minutes minutes until the mushrooms are tender and infused with garlic.
4 Zest the lemon and stir it into the mushrooms along with the artichokes and pearl barley. Squeeze in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the chopped parsley and feta crumbled on top.