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Barley-Lentil Stew
Arwen Southernwood

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Original Recipe

Note:  This recipe is conjectural; it uses foods known in period, prepared in ways that were known in period, but it is not a redaction of a recipe from a period source.  Caveat emptor!



1/3 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
5 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups water or vegetarian stock
1 cup dried lentils
1/2 cup barley
1/4 teaspoon ground rosemary
2 teaspoons salt (less if using pre-salted stock)
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 8-oz. package frozen spinach, thawed

Preparation Steps

In a large soup pot, sauté the chopped onion, celery, and carrots in the olive oil. Add the water or stock, lentils, barley, rosemary, salt, and cumin. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and cook until lentils and barley are tender, about one hour.  Add spinach for the last 15 minutes of cooking. 

Number of Servings

6 servings.

Serving Size

1 cup.

Redaction Notes

This recipe, while not a redaction from an original source, uses foods known in Europe in the Middle Ages.  The grains and vegetables are cooked in a period fashion, being stewed together in a pottage. The combination of seasonings is similar to recipes in Apicius.  In his notes “On the Lentil,”(1) Platina mentions adding barley meal to lentils.

This is a hearty, tasty vegetarian dish.  It freezes and re-heats well, and is easy to prepare.


(1) Platina (pseud. of Bartolomeo Sacchi).  De honeste voluptate et valetudine ("On right pleasure and good health").  Translated and abridged by Mary Ella Milham.  Pegasus Press, The University of North Carolina at Asheville, 1999.  ISBN 1-889818-12-7.  Page 129.

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