Black-Barley Paella


Using black barley instead of rice to make paella is an inspired way to introduce customers to new grains. Plus, the barley makes a colorful contrast to the shellfish, vegetables and other ingredients in this one-dish entree.


3 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups white wine
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. boneless chicken thighs, diced
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
1/2 green pepper, seeded, ribbed and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. Spanish saffron
1 bay leaf
2 links dry-cured chorizo sausage, sliced
8 oz. black barley
10 oz. diced canned tomato
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 lb. raw peeled shrimp
1/2 lb. mussels
3/4 cup peas, fresh or frozen
Salt and pepper, to taste

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley
5 croutons or breadsticks


  1. Heat chicken stock and wine to a boil.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet or paella pan over med.-high heat, heat oil; add chicken thighs. Sear for 2 min. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, saffron, bay leaf and chorizo. Cook 6 min. or until vegetables are soft and chorizo is browned.
  3. Stir in black barley, diced tomato and tomato paste until well mixed; cook 5 min. Add boiling chicken stock, a little at a time, stirring constantly after each addition until stock is almost absorbed.
  4. Cover paella pan tightly with aluminum foil; cook 35 min. until barley is tender.
  5. Add shrimp, mussels and peas to barley mixture and let cook, covered, for 5 to 7 min. longer. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and discard bay leaf.
  6. For service, spoon into individual serving bowls; garnish with parsley and crisp crouton or breadstick.
Source: Chef Chris Bybee, Sublime Catering, Longmont, CO & Photo courtesy of Indian Harvest/Rob Yuretich

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