Recipe for Barley Casserole

Ingredients

1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 single onion
1 single garlic clove, chopped
1 1/2 cup washed pearl barley
2 can stock

Instructions

Saute some sliced mushrooms (say a cup or so), in a teaspoon or so of butter. Or sweat the mushrooms after sprinkling with butter flavor or butter extract. Take a 1-1/2 quart ovenproof dish and add 1-1/2 cups washed pearl barley. Add 2 cans (about 3-3/4 c) stock (see note below). Add the mushrooms, deglazing the pan with a bit of the stock. Bake, covered, in a medium oven (350-375 deg F) until the barley is tender (notice that barley never gets soft--it's more like al dente, there's a little resistance, but no starchy core) which takes about an hour or so, depending on the age of the barley, etc. Add more stock if it dries out before it's done, but don't drown it.

Optional extras--sweat a little minced garlic, a clove or two, in a little broth until it softens. Do the same with chopped onion, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.

Broth note--I use beef-flavored boullion because the flavors of beef and barley go very well together--this dish is very "meaty" and satisfying. You can certainly use any good broth, as long as it's not too salty. There are quite a few good vegetarian beef-flavored broths, as well as vegetable flavored broths, both canned and dry. This isn't good with chicken-flavored broth; something about the barley just doesn't work.

Two good books are Greene on Grain and Great Grains, but I think this recipe came from somewhere else.





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