Lemon and coriander chicken with pearl barley

A great packed lunch that beats a sandwich every day of the week.

During times when I have to eat gluten I opt for wholegrain, such as pearl barley.  This little number is something I threw together from options in my pantry.  The portions below are for one person but it makes sense to make multiple portions of this meal in one go.

INGREDIENTS (makes 1 portion)

1 chicken thigh
1/2 teaspoon of butter
80gms pearl barley
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
1 lemon
2 tablespoons of either mayonnaise (homemade is preferable) or coconut yoghurt
1 gem lettuce

Ground black pepper
Drizzle of cold pressed olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (gas mark 6).  Place the chicken thigh in a roasting dish and add 1/2 teaspoon of butter and a good few turns of freshly ground pepper.  Place the roasting dish in the oven and cook for 40 minutes. 

In the meantime, pour the 80 grams of pearl barely into a pan and add cold water to cover the pearl barley by 2-3 inches.  Place the pan on a medium/high heat and bring to a steady simmer.  Cook for 50 minutes, checking at intervals to see whether it needs more water added (if it gets too dry it will burn and stick to the bottom of the pan and you'll spend a good ten minutes having to scrub it clean - trust me).  

When the chicken is ready, remove from the oven and allow it to cool.  

When the pearl barley is cooked (my husband insists it has the texture of fish eyes, so that it what you're aiming for - a little bit soft and squidgy), remove the pan from the hob and drain the pear barley in a sieve whilst rinsing it with cold water.  Leave the pearl barley to cool also.

Add the (1 tablespoon) chopped coriander, juice of 1 lemon and 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise or coconut yogurt into a bowl and mix together.  Then chop the chicken into small chunks and add into the bowl, mixing thoroughly to coat the chicken.

Put the coriander and lemon chicken mixture, the pearl barley and 1 chopped gem lettuce into a glass airtight tupperware container.  Finish with a twist of black pepper and a drizzle of cold pressed extra virgin olive oil over the pearl barley.  Store in the fridge ready for a tasty lunch.