We had some shredded pork that was in our meat rotation, from when Larry was smoking all of his meats for our Carnivores’ Gathering A Carnivores’ Gathering. We use shredded pork a lot for burritos, sandwiches, quesadillas, and even salads, but I was looking for something different. I searched and searched, but surprisingly, most of the recipes I found were for burritos, and sandwiches. I was persistent though and kept searching until I found a recipe that sounded really good and was totally different. It was a recipe for shredded pork and barley stew.
When I think of barley, I almost always think of my dad’s favorite soup, beef barley. Barley is one of those very underrated grains, but it is so good and so good for you too. Barley has been around for about 10,000 years, so obviously it has been used for more than soup, for a very long time. Barley is a cereal grain that is used for breads, beverages, soups, stews, salads and more.
This recipe for pork and barley stew is so colorful and so full of flavor. It is a little like risotto, but not. It is a little like stew, but not. It is a little like soup, but not. It really is unique and stands alone and doesn’t really compare to anything else. It is full of character and personality. I served it with some rolls and a glass or two of a red, robust syrah on the side to make the meal complete.
Shredded Pork and Barley Stew
1 1/2-2 lbs cooked, shredded pork
1 cup pearl barley
2 carrots, small dice
2 celery stalks, small dice
1 onion, small dice
1 TBSP garlic
3-4 tomatoes, diced medium
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 1/2-4 cups chicken stock
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
1/2 cup olives, sliced in 1/2 – I mixed my olives
salt & pepper to taste
1 TBSP olive oil
2 cups fresh spinach, stems removed and cut in rough cut
1/4 cup Peruvian peppers, optional
This is all cooked together in a slow cooker. I started with the first layer of pork, then the barley and last, I added all the vegetables on top, all except for the spinach, olives and Peruvian peppers. Those don’t come until much, much later.
I mixed all my liquids and tomato paste together with the salt, pepper and olive oil, and poured it on top of the vegetable and pork mixture, then mixed it all together. Cover and cook at either high temperature for 6 hours or at a lower temperature for 8 hours. Make sure to check on it and stir occasionally too. If you need more liquid, add more as needed to make sure nothing sticks and you have enough liquid to cook the barley completely.
When the stew is mostly done, and most of the liquid is gone, add the spinach, peppers and olives and thoroughly mix in with the stew.
Once everything is all mixed together and the spinach is a little wilted, it is time to serve it up and enjoy. Because has a tomato base, a red wine is best with this dish. This stew is full of bold flavors and needs a bold wine to go with it. Bon Appetit!
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.