I bought a bunch of fresh beetroots from Mark’s stall which is just on the crossing by Sainsbury’s on the St James’ end of Walthamstow market. I often buy typical British veggies from him, such as potatoes, parsnips, cabbage, Brussels sprouts etc. Then in contrast I buy bright Mediterranean salad stuff from the ‘pound-a-bowl’ stall directly outside Sainsbury’s.
I usually make borscht soup or spicy bhajis with beetroot, so I decided to try something different to go with a roast chicken. I found a box of barley groats in the cupboard bought from Lituanica so decided to see if it would make a good partner for the beetroot.
Barley groats are the hulled seeds of barley and are a whole grain high in fibre. As an alternative carb, barley is a low fat and cholesterol option and a good source of thiamine (Vit B1) and niacin (Vit B3) important for maintaining a healthy nervous system and liver function, as well as minerals manganese and selenium.
This dish definitely had an Eastern European influence with the combination of ingredients. We ate it warm with roast chicken but it would easily work served as a cold tabouleh-style salad.
Barley, beetroot and dill pilaf
1 bunch of beetroot, washed
2 boil in the bag sachets of barley groats (there’s 4 in a box)
1 stock cube, chicken or vegetable
water to cover the barley groats
fresh dill, washed and chopped
splash of olive oil
For the dip:
200ml natural yogurt
I washed but didn’t peel the beetroot and wrapped each one in foil and placed on a baking tray. I roasted them on high for 45 mins in the oven. Once coolish I removed the skins.
The barley groats are in bags so I boiled two bags in a pan of hot water and a stock cube for ten minutes.
Chop some fresh dill, cube the beetroot and add to the groats. Don’t mix the beetroot too much with the groats unless you want it all to go instantly pink! I drizzled some olive oil through the dish and served warm with a roasted chicken.
As we had leftovers I hand-blended the barley groats and beetroot dish and added plain yogurt to make into a smooth beetroot ‘hummus’ style dip to go with nachos.