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Barley Marrow Pudding

Serves 6

This recipe is based on a medieval recipe recorded by Dorothy Hartley in her book Food in England. It is really a rice pudding made with barley, because at the time the recipe was written, that was the readily available grain. The barley is cooked in milk, Then enriched with bone marrow. The dish is highly nutritious, and according to Chinese medicine, the combination of barley and bone marrow is an excellent tonic for the body. If you need a pick-me-up, this is the dish for you.

The marrow must be soaked ahead of time in salted water, changed frequently to remove any traces of blood. It must be also very cold so you can finely dice it.


4 cups (1 L) milk
1 cup (200 g) pearl barley, rinsed well
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
1/2 cup (70 g) currants
Pinch of kosher salt
3 tablespoons (30 g) finely diced bone marrow
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (essence)


Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the barley, sugar, currants, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer very gently, stirring from time to time, for 15 minutes.

Uncover the saucepan and continue to simmer very gently for another 15 minutes, or until the barley is just tender.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the marrow, lemon zest, and vanilla. Cover the pan and let it stand until barley has completely absorbed the milk. Serve warm or cold.


Buy the Book!


Recipes, History, and Lore

by Jennifer McLagan
Morrow Cookbooks
Hardcover; 272 pages; $34.95
ISBN: 0060585374
Recipe reprinted by permission.





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This page created May 2006