Barley, cabbage and pancetta

I definitely seem to have a crush on a grain&cabbage combination (click for the recipes here, here, here and here). I probably don’t need yet another recipe to confirm that fact, but all the same – I want to tell you about this dish that made my lunch on three(!) consecutive days this week. Yes, you heard that right – three.
And it wasn’t for the fact that I had a big pot of cooked (hulled) barley in the fridge, and an enormous head of cabbage sitting right there next to it. OK… maaaybe it was. ;)

I can tell you that slices of delicious Kra┼íka panceta definitely improved the dish (and I’m not speaking visually only) and the sprinkling of roasted ground almonds has -more than approvingly- substituted my ever-so-loved Parmesan/Pecorino cheese topping. However, the REAL star ingredient in this recipe was (drum roll please): BUTTER!!

cabbage leaves, coarsely chopped
cooked (hulled OR pearled) barley
unsalted butter (quality really makes the difference)
dry savory, generous amount
freshly ground cumin and coriander seed
sea salt (optional – I didn’t add any because pancetta and cooked barley combined gave enough saltiness)
thin pancetta slices, torn into bits
freshly roasted and ground almonds (please, do not(!) leave out the roasting part)

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan and when it starts sizzling, add the cabbage. Stir-fry on medium heat until softened but not too much. Mix in the barley and season – I find savory, cumin and coriander seeds to be the perfect spices for cabbage.
2. Transfer the stir-fried ingredients onto a serving plate. Add a little more butter to the pan and fry pancetta bits until crispy. Top the dish with them and sprinkle with a generous amount of ground almonds (or hazelnuts/walnuts).
3. In less than 15 minutes’ time your dish is ready. Looks a bit messy, but nevermind that. Eat while still warm!

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