This Apple Barley Bowl with Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage started off as a pantry meal.
I keep track of what my Savour meal planners have in their pantries as we’ve cooked together over time. I want to make sure that I don’t tell them to buy ingredients they’ll never use again, for one. For another, it’s inspirational to look back at some of what they (and I) have bought and think about how we might use those items in an unpredictable way.
I’m awful fond of barley. It’s nutritious, chewy, and flavorful. I love cooking it in broth and tasting the flavors it absorbs. It’s a great bringer-together of other things to form healthy, hearty meals. I, and my meal planners, keep it in stock.
Earlier this month, I was looking through our pantries and feeling the desperate need for comfort food.
I volunteer in animal rescue, and over the years I have collected a crew of amazing and somewhat special needs animals. My senior cat passed away at the end of June after a long journey with lymphoma. At the same time, likely exacerbated by the stress of their elder’s death, two of my other animals developed very serious and acute illnesses. They have since turned the corner and are both making full recoveries, but for a little while it was touch and go.
Y’all, I have a full-time job, an online business, and a volunteer gig I care about deeply. I was spending every second I wasn’t working hand-feeding, giving medicines, or administering fluids. I was down to the bone scared, but I didn’t want to let my meal planners feel any of that. I wanted them to feel nourished. *I* wanted to feel nourished.
And so, this bowl was born.
The barley is lightly seasoned with chicken broth, garlic, and thyme as it cooks, then combined with sweet dried apples, another pantry staple.
Chunks of spinach and feta chicken sausage add savoury flavor as well as textural difference to each bite. I’m a big texture person when I eat. I like food to feel good in my mouth.
Crisp fresh spinach leaves added just before eating lighten everything up.
For a week, this Apple Barley Bowl became my everything.
I made extra and lived off the leftovers before even considering eating anything else. This is one of those recipes that just gets better the longer the flavors have to meld together.
The third time I ate it, I fried an egg and stuck that on top. Oh, that was good. I did it again the next day.
This bowl is easy peasy, and it’s good for dinner. It’s good for breakfast. It’s good to make ahead. It’s whole grain and whole-self food. It’ll fill you up and comfort your soul. Be well, friends. Be well.