Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
Put the bacon in a cold skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Add the butter to the same skillet with the bacon fat and cook, stirring, until melted. Add the garlic and onion and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a couple turns of pepper. Stir in the chicken broth and heavy cream. Bring to a boil and cook until the liquid begins to thicken slightly, about 2 minutes. Stir in the bacon and 3/4 cup of the Cheddar. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Cover tightly with foil.
Bake until the casserole is bubbling, about 25 minutes. Remove the foil and stir. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar and bake, uncovered, until the cheese is melted and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Let sit for a few minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped parsley.
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