Baked Chicken with Barley
This classic Bulgarian Shabbat dish is delicious, comforting, and very easy to make.
- Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water. Place them in a 4-quart saucepan.
- Pierce the onion 6 times with a sharp knife and add it to the chicken. Cover with water and add the oil.
- Bring the chicken to a boil, then partially cover and reduce the heat so that the water just simmers. Cook about 1 hour, until the chicken is tender.
- Remove the chicken but retain the liquid to use as broth. Keep the chicken covered and warm while you make the barley.
- Measure and pour 31⁄2 cups of the chicken broth into a 2-quart saucepan (adding some water if necessary).
- Add the barley and cook, partially covered, over a low heat for about 25 minutes, until the barley starts to swell but is still tough.
- Lightly oil a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken in one layer (but not larger than you need, or the barley will dry out).
- Place the barley in a baking dish. Top with the chicken, skin side up.
- Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.
- Garnish with the lemon slices or chopped parsley and serve as is or with agristada sauce (see "Agristada - Egg Lemon Sauce").
- Never remove chicken skin before stewing; the skin imparts a rich flavor to your broth. The fat can always be discarded after chilling, and/or the skin removed from the meat later on.
- When roasting skinless chicken, protect the meat from drying out by either lightly coating it with a sauce containing some oil or by placing a tent of foil over the top of the meat.