I had barley sitting in the cupboard from a barley risotto I made a while ago. Somehow I stumbled upon the idea of using it in a stuffing with pork scotch and sage. Pair it with the sweetness of slow-roasted sweet potato and cut through with a tangy paprika, lemon, caper and tomato sauce. The result was delicious.
For the Stuffing
2 Cups of Barley
1 Cup of Wholegrain Breadcrumbs
3 Teaspoons of Sage
3 Teaspoons of Oregano
Zest of one Lemon
1 Bulb of Garlic, peeled and minced
2 Onions, finely diced
1/4 Cup lemon juice
For the rest
4 Pork Scotch Steaks
10 fresh tomatoes, chopped, or two 400g tins of chopped tomatoes in juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Golden Kumara/sweet potato per person
6 Brussel Sprouts, juilienned
We'll get the stuffing going first. Pretty simple, barley, sage, oregano, onions and garlic in a large pot. Cover the barley with water until the water level sits about an inch above the barley. Turn to a medium heat, drizzle olive oil over top and simmer.
Preheat the oven to 150 C. Cut sweet potato in half, brush the cut side with olive oil and place cut side up on a roasting tray. Put it in the oven and slow roast for the duration of the cook.
In a bowl, lightly salt juilienned brussel sprouts, add capers, drizzle with olive oil. This is just a light curing.
Prep the pork. Take each fillet and cut a cavity into the pork steak. Dry the outside of the steak with a paper towel and salt well.
Get a pan to a ripping hot heat, oil, and sear the outside of the steak, until a deep crust forms, then set them aside.
In a pot, cook the tomatoes on a medium-low heat, with paprika and lemon. Stir intermittently. You're aiming to reduce this to a near-paste.
Check the barley. The ideal situation is a barley that is very tender, if not overcooked. Cook all the water off, add a bit more oil, the lemon juice and begin the frying process. You want it to caramelize, so keep it going. It'll darken slowly. Just make sure it doesn't stick to the bottom completely.
When it's a few shades darker and quite dry, add the breadcrumbs to the mixture. Mix them through thoroughly. Taste it. It'll need a big whack of salt and some pepper. Let your tastebuds tell you how much salt you need, but you'll be looking for bold, warm flavours, dotted with a slight tangy touch from the lemon. The salt will accentuate this.
Take it off the heat and let it cool.
Once cool, mix through two eggs. It'll be a bit like a pasta. Stuff this paste into the cavity cut into the pork steaks. Put them together in a roasting dish. Try and prop them up, so the stuffing faces upwards.
Take the sweet potato out of the oven.
Increase oven heat to 190 C and put the pork in. Roast for 15-20 minutes. It's a fattier cut of meat, so can handle a little abuse. I like mine slightly undercooked, so I'm inclined to cook it shorter. But cook it safely to the quality of meat.
In the last 2 minutes, put the sweet potato back in the with pork.
Check on your tomatoes. They'll be quite tangy. Salt it up, pepper too.
Take all the ingredients out for plating. 1 Sweet potato for each person, or more if want. The sweet potato will be super soft and sweet from the slow cooking.
Plate as above.