Chicken Barley Biryani

Great cooking for me is about trying new ingredients, I created a similar dish to this recently using rice, But this time I tried it with barley. Holy smokes, what a gorgeous change. Barley has a nuttiness and texture you don't get from rice. 

Serves 6 – prep 15 mins/cook time 50 mins. 

- 6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- 2 white onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes (to taste)
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock, low sodium preferred
- 1 1/2 cups pearl barley
- 1/4 cup fresh thyme, finely chopped

Preheat oven at 350°F. In an ovenproof pan with high sides, heat a splash of olive oil on medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt/pepper, lay thighs skin-side down once pan is hot.  Let chicken sear until skin is golden then flip and do the same on the other side. Don’t fuss around with them or you’ll tear the skin, place them and let them sear. Once golden brown on both sides remove from pan.  Add chopped onion and chili flakes to the pan, sear until the onions are brown and crispy. Add the tomato paste and cook for a few seconds (you may need to turn the heat down). Add the chicken stock and stir with a wooden spoon. Remove all the crispy bits from pot base. Add thyme and barley, give a quick stir, place the seared chicken thighs back into the pan. Place the lid on and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove, add a little more fresh thyme for garnish and check barley for seasoning.