Hulled barley is a dense, chewy grain often used in soups and stews. According to "The Cook's Thesaurus," hulled barley is more nutritious than the pearl barley found in the supermarket. While you may have to make a trip to your local health food store to find hulled barley, the health benefits are worth it: This is the least processed form of barley, with only the outer hull removed and the bran layer left behind. Soak this high-fiber grain overnight to cut down on preparation time.
Drain the water off the soaked barley with a wire mesh colander. Rinse the barley with running water while it is still in the colander.
Boil 3 cups water or broth for every cup of dry barley you soaked.
Add the soaked barley to the boiling liquid. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the saucepan with a lid.
Simmer the barley for 50 minutes.
Taste the barley to test for readiness. It should be firm but chewy, and all the liquid should be absorbed. If the barley is not yet done, stir it and cover the pot with the lid. Test every 5 to 10 minutes to keep the barley from burning.
Add salt and spices to barley after cooking. Fluff before serving.
Replacing part or all of the water with chicken or vegetable broth adds both nutrients and flavor.