Barley and Mushroom Pilaf
Pilafs are easy to make and keep whatever grains you are cooking nice, fluffy and separated. The grains get coated with oil before you add the liquids, and this helps them stay apart. I cook this barley pilaf just as I would a rice pilaf. Quite delicious in my opinion, and why not try a different grain?
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, diced
1 inner celery leave, chopped
4 mushrooms, cut in 4-6 pieces
1 cup barley
2 1/2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken stock)
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, more for garnish
Heat olive oil in a 2 quart pot. Add onion and cook until onion is translucent and fragrant.
Add carrot and celery and cook until vegetables are softened but still retain some bite.
Add mushrooms and thyme and continue cooking until mushrooms are done. You may need to add a bit more oil as the mushrooms absorb liquids like a sponge.
When the mixture is nicely cooked together add the barley and toss to coat the grains with the oil.
Add the stock as well as salt and pepper and bring the dish to a boil. Once boiled, reduce the heat, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed and grains are cooked through (just as you would cook rice). Check the pot to make sure there is still liquid as it cooks. If the pot dries before the barley is cooked you can add some more stock, about a 1/4 cup at a time, until done.
When ready, remove from heat and let rest a few minutes, covered, then fluff with fork, garnish with a thyme sprig and serve.