Ingredients1 large onion (chopped)
2 sticks celery (chopped)
1 leek (chopped)
1 carrot (peeled and grated)
1 courgette (peeled and grated)
2 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 tbsp dried herbes de provence (or small handful fresh thyme/rosemary/sage)
100g chopped bacon/lardons
Glug of olive oil
1/2 red pepper (chopped)
Big handful of mushrooms - around 100g (chopped)
2x400g tin chopped tomatoes
400g tin borlotti beans
400g tin cannellini beans
100g pearl barley
1 stock cube (chicken for preference, but veg would do)
1 glass white wine
8 chicken drumsticks/thighs (if you're feeling generousor one large jointed chicken)
Handy HintIt would be cheaper to buy dried beans and prepare them yourself but I didn't do this and can't remember what the rules are for cannellini and borlotti! I always buy values bacon marked 'cooking bacon' as it tastes just as good and it doesn't matter that it is sometimes in big lumps, as you're going to be chopping it anyway. If you're feeling decadent you can throw in some dumplings too, but you'll probably need more liquid, maybe an extra tin of tomatoes.
Method1. Gently heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish, and fry the onions, celery, leek and garlic for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the bacon or lardons.
2. Preheat the oven to 190C
3. Prepare the pearl barley by putting it in a small saucepan, covered with cold water, and bring to the boil. Drain in a colander and rinse the grains. Set aside.
4. Add the grated carrot and courgette, herbs, red pepper and mushrooms to the casserole and fry for about 5 minutes.
5. Add the tinned tomatoes, drained borlotti beans and drained cannellini beans. Stir, then add the pearl barley, plus stock cube dissolved in about 200ml boiling water, and the glass of wine. Bring to a simmer.
6. Arrange the chicken pieces half-submerged on top, and cover with a close-fitting lid and bung in the oven for about 1.5 hours. 30 minutes before the end of cooking take the lid off, which browns the top of the chicken pieces nicely.