BVC Eats: Failed Chewy Grains

by Jennifer Stevenson

Well, that didn’t work. I tried adapting a recipe yesterday and it was a total frost. Normally I do this:

¾ cup each dried barley, brown rice, and wheat berries
4 cups soup stock or water
1 lb. Italian sausage links, pricked all over with a fork

the right ingredient

I throw all that into a casserole, cover it, and put it in the oven for an hour at 325 degrees. Then, when it’s done, I slice up the sausage links into bites and return them to the casserole.

The result is a great side dish for a pot luck, or a solid meal for two with leftovers. The grains are chewy and smoky and savory and salty, with just enough sausage grease mixed in to flavor them, and there’s just enough meat to make you feel virtuous about your protein intake. It reheats well, too.

Yesterday I was feeling creative. You know how that goes. I used barley, sweet sticky rice (like for sushi), and brown rice. Also, I had no Italian sausage but I did have two smoked ham hocks that had been frosting over in the freezer for goodness knows how long. I cooked ‘em the same way, using plain water.

the wrong ingredient

This did not work out. It turns out sushi rice is a very persnickety substance. Also, the ham hocks have a simpler flavor, and maybe they were kind of old and stale. The result is greasy without being tasty, and the grains, instead of coming out smoky and chewy, are a weird texture, both gluey and lumpy.

Memo to self: Don’t fix a recipe if it ain’t broke.




BVC Eats: Failed Chewy Grains — 3 Comments

  1. Did you toss it? If you still have it around and feel thrifty, you can probably redeem it. I’d add four quarts of good chicken stock, a bunch of chopped kale, and call it soup.

  2. Good learning! ;^) Thanks for the warning about ham hocks/=equal sausage. And sushi rice is for sushi (woe to the person who tries to make sushi with other rice!) Although I like sweet brown rice for hot cereal.

    It’s easy to be tired and think “This will probably work.” Not always.

  3. Ya never know until you try.

    I haven’t had success with ham hocks as seasoning. Other people do. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. But if you didn’t toss that, you could add some stuff (as others have suggested) and make it work. Brown some onion, add some other nicely seasoned meat if you want, some more spices… or you might end up with a bigger mess. BTDT, too.