Pearl barley is a well-loved grain, traditionally used to add bulk and comforting flavour to stews and broths. It is formed from barley grains that have had the hull and bran removed, leaving us with more chew-able and attractive pearly grains.
Pearl barley is a great buffer to more robust flavours, so don't be afraid to serve it alongside punchy ingredients such as chorizo, as Geoffrey Smeddle does in his pot-roast lamb recipe. It is also well-loved by Italians, used in place of risotto rice in comforting orzotto - David Everitt Matthias masterfully plays off the nutty, creamy flavour of barley by serving his version with earthy Jerusalem artichoke and a peanut and parsley pesto.
The gentle flavour of the grain is endlessly adaptable, so don't be afraid to experiment - Christoffer Hruskova infuses toasted pearl barley in milk to create a unique and comforting flavour to his toasted barley ice cream recipe - an ingenious use of this traditional grain.