The barley takes a bit of time to cook but it’s pretty straight forward and the rest of this recipe is really easy and quick. You just throw everything into the pot and leave it to bubble away! The harissa spice is a gentle way of introducing your little one’s palate to some different flavours and spice.
50g pearl barley
4 dried apricots, chopped
a handful of raisins
20g unsalted butter
2 chicken thighs (or breasts)
1/2 aubergine, chopped into small cubes
1 spring onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
200g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp harissa spices
1 bay leaf
50ml chicken or vegetable stock
When cooking for Lentil, I tend to use the tubs of liquid stock rather than a cube or stock pot as they generally have less / no added salt. You can find own brand ones in most supermarkets.
For the barley: Follow the instructions on the packet. This usually involves covering the pearl barley in cold water in a pot and bringing it to the boil. Next drain and rinse the barley in cold water. Return the barley to the pot, cover in cold water again, bring to the boil and then simmer for about 75 minutes. Yes, I know that sounds a bit excessive(!), but it’s really important to ensure the barley is properly cooked for your little one.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to stand over it: you can set the timer and skedaddle. Just make sure you have enough water in the pot so it doesn’t all evaporate and burn. Add the apricots and raisins at about 70 minutes and mix through. This gives a bit of sweetness to the dish, although Lentil sometimes picks out the raisins and eats them first, which kind of defeats their purpose!
For the chicken: Cook the chicken thighs skin side down in a pan with the unsalted butter on medium heat for about 4 minutes. Then turn and cook for a further 3 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Next add all the other ingredients and leave to bubble away for about 20 – 25 minutes. Don’t forget to remove the bay leaf. Then skin the chicken and remove from the bone – of course if you’re tucking into some yourself you can skip this step! Cut to the desired size for your little one. Serve with some of the pearl barley mix and fingers crossed they’ll enjoy it as much as Lentil does….!