Stuffed Vegetables with Beans and Barley

August 22, 2013
2 Ratings
Photo by Francoise Nicol
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Les Petits Farcis -- literally, "the little stuffed ones" -- is a favorite from the produce-rich cuisine of Provence. Though the stuffing is classically meat-based, grains and legumes step in seamlessly and provide just as much bite and satisfaction. It's nice to select an assortment of vegetables for this, mixing and matching the varieties and colors. —clotilde

What You'll Need
  • Stuffed Vegetables with Beans and Barley
  • 6 small red onions (4 1/4 ounces / 120 g each)
  • 6 small zucchini, round or elongated (4 1/4 ounces / 120 g each)
  • 6 small round tomatoes (4 1/4 ounces / 120 g each)
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 large organic eggs, lightly beaten
  • Fresh Shell Beans and Barley with Sage and Garlic (recipe follows)
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • Fresh Shell Beans and Barley with Sage and Garlic
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups shucked fresh shell beans (from about 1 pound / 450 g shell beans in the pod) or 1 cup / 200 g dried white or flageolet beans
  • Olive oil for cooking
  • 1 small yellow onion (4 1/4 ounces / 120 g), chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Fine sea salt
  • 15 fresh sage leaves, minced
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Aged Parmesan or other hard cheese, cut into shavings with a vegetable peeler (optional)
  1. Stuffed Vegetables with Beans and Barley
  2. Peel the papery outer layer off the onions. Trim the root end by slicing off a thin layer of flesh, just enough to give the onions a flat base to sit on, but maintaining their round shape. Slice off a “hat” at the stem end, and use a melon baller to carve out the insides so they form little round cups to hold the stuffing. (Use the onion flesh you’ve carved out in the fresh shell beans recipe below, or save for stock.)
  3. If you’re using round zucchini, prepare them in the same fashion, slicing off a hat at the stem end and carving out the insides. If you’re using elongated zucchini, halve them lengthwise and carve to form slender canoes.
  4. Slice off a hat from the tops of the tomatoes and carve out their insides. (Save the flesh and juices for eating later, with a bit of salt and olive oil.) Sprinkle the insides with salt and set them upside down on a plate for the excess juices to drain out.
  5. Bring salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the hollowed-out onions and simmer until just tender, about 8 minutes. Lift them out with a slotted spoon and set them upside down in a colander to drain. Add the zucchini hats and onion hats to the pot and simmer until just tender, about 3 minutes. Drain thoroughly.
  6. Preheat the oven to 425° F. / 220° C.
  7. Arrange the vegetables in a single layer, hollowed-side up, in 1 large or 2 medium baking dishes. Sprinkle with pepper.
  8. Stir the pine nuts and eggs into the bean and barley mixture and pack into the vegetables. Place a matching hat on each of the vegetables (except for the elongated zucchini) and drizzle with oil.
  9. Bake, basting the vegetables with their own juices (and switching the position of the baking dishes halfway through if you’re using two), until tender and lightly browned, about 40 minutes.
  10. Serve hot or just slightly warm.
  1. Fresh Shell Beans and Barley with Sage and Garlic
  2. Soak the barley overnight in a large bowl with water to cover by about 1 inch / 2 1/2 centimeters. (If using dried beans, soak them the same way in a separate bowl.)
  3. The next day, drain and rinse the barley and cook according to package directions until tender but still retaining its shape. (Pearl barley usually needs to simmer in salted water for 25 to 45 minutes, or 15 to 25 minutes in a pressure cooker.)
  4. In a separate pot, combine the shell beans and 4 cups / 1 liter cold water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring from time to time, until tender, about 20 minutes. (If using dried beans, drain, rinse, and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, or 25 to 40 minutes in a pressure cooker.)
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon cooking olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a sprinkle of salt, and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
  6. Drain the beans and barley and add to the skillet with the sage and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Cook for a few minutes, allowing the sage to soften and the flavors to meld. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Add a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with black pepper and cheese (if using), and serve warm, cold, or use as a filling for the Stuffed Vegetables.

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Clotilde Dusoulier is a French food writer based in Paris. Her focus is on fresh, colorful, and seasonal foods, making room for both wholesome, nourishing dishes and sweet treats. An enthusiastic explorer of flavors and observer of culinary trends, she contributes to international food and travel magazines, and writes cookbooks and guidebooks. She lives in the Montmartre neighborhood of Paris with her boyfriend and their young son.

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