Baked Chicken with Barley

Tina Wasserman
Recipe by
Tina Wasserman

This classic Bulgarian Shabbat dish is delicious, comforting, and very easy to make.

1 chicken, cut into 8ths (or 4 large breasts or thighs with skin and bone)
1 cup barley
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, peeled but left whole
Salt and pepper to taste
Lemon slices for garnish
  1. Rinse the chicken pieces under cold running water. Place them in a 4-quart saucepan.
  2. Pierce the onion 6 times with a sharp knife and add it to the chicken. Cover with water and add the oil.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove the chicken but retain the liquid to use as broth. Keep the chicken covered and warm while you make the barley.
  5. Measure and pour 31⁄2 cups of the chicken broth into a 2-quart saucepan (adding some water if necessary).
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Place the barley in a baking dish. Top with the chicken, skin side up.
  9. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 20 minutes, until the liquid has been absorbed.
  10. Garnish with the lemon slices or chopped parsley and serve as is or with Agristada - Egg Lemon Sauce.
Additional Notes
  • 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.