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This savory barley and acorn squash salad is a perfect accompaniment to simple grilled meats or a nice meal all on its own. We like it with roast turkey over the holidays.
- 2 acorn squash, unpeeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch rings
- 1 cup quick-cooking barley
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened pomegranate juice
- 1 1⁄2 cups stock (veal, chicken, or beef)
- 2 1⁄2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup dried currants or 1⁄2 cup cranberries
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons macadamia nuts, toasted and crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh chives, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, extra virgin
- To make the glaze, bring ½ cup unsweetened pomegranate juice, ½ a cup of stock and 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until the glaze reduces in quantity by almost half and coats the back of a spoon. Set aside.
- Preheat the grill to medium high. Brush the squash rings lightly with olive oil and place on grill. Lower the lid and cook about 8 to 10 minutes until lightly browned. Remove squash from grill, dip it into glaze, and place it back onto the grill to caramelize. Remove the rings when they are golden brown on the edges and soft to the touch. Do not over cook!
- Alternately, reserve 6 rings of the squash. Peel and dice the remaining squash and roast the rings and the pieces in a 375º F oven for 20 to 30 minutes, basting with a bit of the glaze after 15 minutes, till the squash is JUST tender.
- For the barley, bring remaining pomegranate juice, sugar, and stock to a boil. Stir in the barley. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until barley is tender (about 40 minutes, or as stated on package directions).
- Peel skins from 4 rounds of squash. Dice and add to barley. (Or, add the diced roasted pieces to the barley) Toss with the orange zest and currants or cranberries, and a bit of the remaining glaze.
- To serve, arrange remaining squash rings onto plates, scoop warm barley salad onto rings. Garnish with toasted macadamia nuts, chives, and cracked pepper, and a drizzle of fruity olive oil, if desired.