Does anyone else have the joy of discovering a new ingredient and seeing how it can change a dish you have been making for ages...
I suspect that like most people I will make soups / stews from left over potatoes, vegetables etc. Whatever happens to be stuck in the fridge before I go shopping. Bung it all in a big pan, add some water, stock, a few herbs, bring to the boil and then leave to simmer for a couple of hours.
Simple, easy to make, filling and a good way to use up those odds and ends. However, recently I was browsing the shelves of my local supermarket and I came across some pearl barley and the blurb on the packet said it could be used to thicken stews etc so I thought I would try it.
So, the next time I made a vegetable stew I added a couple of tablespoons of pearl barley and, lo and behold, the stew slowly thickened to a lovely consistency. Furthermore, when eaten the pearl barley had plumped up as it absorbed the water and gave a lovely change in texture as you ate the stew and bit into one of the pearls.
Definitely a good find and I will be using this more in the future.