Caramelised Onion and Chicken Pearl Barley Recipe


Caramelised Onion and Chicken Pearl Barley Recipe

Serves 4

Pearl barley is really underused in everyday cooking, but I find it’s a tasty alternative to rice or couscous. This pearl barley recipe is really easy to prepare and goes well with a lot of dishes. This recipe is simple and will make a low fat, high protein dinner. It’s also delicious. I used the leftover chicken from our Sunday roast.


150g dry pearl barley
1100ml chicken stock
2 onions
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
80g cream cheese
400g cooked chicken


Rinse the pearl barley and add to a saucepan.

Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for approximately 1 hour.

Pearl Barley Recipe

Slice the onions into rings.

Pearl Barley Recipe

Add the olive oil to a small frying or saucepan and once hot, add the sliced onions.

Cook on a medium heat for about 15 minutes until the onions are soft and are starting to turn dark brown.

Remove the onions from the heat and add in the balsamic vinegar. Give it a good stir and then leave it to one side to cool.

Pearl Barley Recipe

Chop the cooked chicken into bitesize pieces.

Once the pearl barley is cooked, use a sieve and a kettle of hot water to rinse it. When cooked, pearl barley will be tender to chew. Not mushy though, it should still retain a very slight bite.

Add the cooked pearl barley, caramelised onion, cooked chicken and cream cheese back into a saucepan, on a medium heat and heat through, stirring to combine all the ingredients. To ensure the chicken is cooked through, check it is piping hot (a minimum of 85 degrees) and give it a good dose of ground black pepper before serving.

Pearl Barley Recipe

I hope you enjoy this dish. It’s a great way of utilising the leftover roast chicken and turning it into an interesting, delicious and healthy dish the next day. Why not give this pearl barley recipe a go this week?

Read more posts in the Food & Drink Category

Pearl Barley Recipe by Life Loving

20 thoughts on “Caramelised Onion and Chicken Pearl Barley Recipe

  1. We don’t really use Pearl Barley in our cooking – I am not sure why this sounds delicious and after having the baby I will be wanting to shrink down quickly so that fact its low fat is ideal. Thank you for joining us at #BloggerClubUK hope you can make it again next week xx

    • Sally Sally says:

      Oooh, you should definitely give this a try. It’s so good for you and a great way to use up the leftover chicken from a Sunday roast. I hope you enjoy it!

  2. This looks and sounds amazing!! On a Monday I’m often stuck for ideas of what to do with the left over chicken, usually end up with a curry…… This Monday will be different, thank you for the recipe!

    • Sally Sally says:

      I’m glad it provided some inspiration. We’ve enjoyed this a number of times. It smells so good as it is cooking too.

  3. I would never think to use pearl barley like this. We’ve recently started eating cous cous more regularly so may give this a try. Thanks for linking to #PicknMix

    • Sally Sally says:

      I hope you enjoy it if you do give it a try. If you are eating more cous cous, you should love it too.

  4. I do use pearl barley a lot in stews, soups and as a substitute for rice. I love the taste and texture of it. This recipe with the balsamic vinegar and onions sound really tasty and it’s one I will be trying for sure.


    • Sally Sally says:

      I hope you enjoy it Debbie. I loved the flavour of the chicken and the balsamic onions. It’s a great substitute for rice isn’t it?

    • Sally Sally says:

      Its really simple to make. Take a while with the pearl barley, but you can leave it and get on with something else, so it’s not a chore. Well worth it for the flavour (and the smell is heavenly).

  5. Avatar Janet says:

    Wow, this recipe sounds amazing, thanks for sharing! I have pearl barley and tend to use it in a broth but I’m definitely going to try this.


    • Sally Sally says:

      Ooh, you should definitely give it a try Catie. You’ll wonder why you’ve never cooked with it before when you do!

  6. Sally that sounds mouthwatering! I adore Pearl Barley, but living gluten free precludes it. I’d use risotto rice instead I guess…sniff…boo-hoo….Mimi xxx

    • Sally Sally says:

      Oh no, that’s annoying, but yes the recipe would work equally as well with risotto rice. Yum. I might try that one myself.

    • Sally Sally says:

      It’s so delicious, maybe not the best looking dish. I took some to work a couple of days ago and everyone wanted to know what I was eating as it smelled so nice.

  7. Just reading through I feel like having some! I haven’t had Barley in ages, my mom used to make it a lot in stews I remember. This sounds so delicious, even though I’m not a great onion fan, but caramelised they are so good!

    • Sally Sally says:

      The caramelised onions were so sweet. It was amazing. I didn’t think they would be as sweet as they were, as I didn’t add any sugar, but then the natural sugars come out when you cook them. I love pearl barley. It makes such a nice change to rice or cous cous.

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