Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Recipe for Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms

I loved this Barley Pilaf with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms; a unique and tasty side dish.

(Updated with better photos and instructions, July 2011.)  I'm still working on that huge jar of dried mushrooms, so it seemed like a good time to update this Barley Pilaf recipe from back in 2006.  Many people don't think much about barley, but actually  barley is a major food crop, fourth in the world of cereal crops, according to Wikipedia.   Barley is used as a grain, and is a major ingredient in several hot drinks used as a coffee substitute, especially in Europe.  I loved this dish which is a type of barley pilaf where the barley is sauteed and then cooked in hot stock.  Adding both dried and fresh mushrooms and using some of the the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms to cook the barley made this a very flavorful side dish.

The idea behind this recipe came from The Best Recipes in the World, a cookbook by New York Time columnist Mark Bittman that I still turn to as a good source for international recipes.

Start with one ounce of dried mushrooms.  The original recipe used Porcini mushrooms which are great if you have them, but since I have that huge jar of dried mushrooms I just used what I had.  Break the mushrooms apart if they're large.

Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 30 minutes then drain the mushrooms and reduce the liquid to 1/2 cup.

Heat the butter or margarine and olive oil in a pan with a tight-fitting lid; then add barley and saute for 3-5 minutes.  (Oops, forgot to take a photo of that step!)  Then add the stock and mushroom liquid, thyme, and onion powder, lower heat, and simmer covered until the barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.

When the barley is done, saute the fresh mushrooms in butter or margarine and olive oil until they're soft and the liquid has evaporated.

Add the dried mushrooms and saute about 2 minutes more.

Then stir in the cooked barley and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.  Serve hot, garnished with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

And just to remind you why I'm re-doing my old photos, he's the original photo of this recipe from back in 2006!

Barley with Dried and Fresh Mushrooms
(Makes about 6 servings, adapted from The Best Recipes in the World.)

1 ounce (or more) dried mushrooms (Porcini mushrooms are great if you have them)
8 ounces sliced white or Portobella mushrooms
1 1/2 cups pearl barley (not instant)
3 cups chicken stock or canned chicken broth
1 cup boiling water for mushroom soaking liquid, later simmered until reduced to 1/2 cup
1/4 tsp. dried thyme (or more)
1/4 tsp. onion powder (or more)
1 T + 1 T butter or margarine  use margarine for South Beach Diet)
1 T + 1 T extra virgin olive oil

Put dried mushrooms on cutting board and coarsely chop with chef's knife, then place them in bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over. Let stand 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, strain mushrooms (a coffee filter or a piece of cheesecloth would work for this) catching liquid. Boil mushroom liquid to reduce to 1/2 cup.

Heat 1 T butter or margarine and 1 T olive oil in dutch oven type pan. (If you're using a non-stick pan you can use less oil.)  Add barley and saute 3-5 minutes, until barley is slightly toasted and well coated with oil. Add stock, reduced mushroom juice, thyme, and onion powder, bring to a boil, then lower heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 30-35 minutes. Add more liquid and cook longer if needed to get the barley to the degree of tenderness you want.

When barley is tender and all liquid is absorbed, turn off heat. In very large deep frying pan, heat remaining butter or margarine and olive oil. Saute fresh mushrooms 3-5 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are softened. Add dried mushrooms and saute 2-3 minutes more, then stir in barley and heat through. Serve hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley.

South Beach Suggestions:
Barley is considered a "good" carb on the South Beach Diet, and this would be a great side dish for phase 2 or 3 to serve with something like Sauteed Chicken Cutlets with Capers and Sage or Forbidden City Chicken.

More Ways You Might Enjoy Barley:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Barley Risotto with Mushrooms and Thyme from Kalyn's Kitchen
Barley Minestrone with Canadian Bacon, Savoy Cabbage, and Rosemary from Kalyn's Kitchen
Barley Salad with Mint and Lemon from Kalyn's Kitchen
Roasted Vegetable and Barley Salad from FamilyStyle Food
French Barley Salad from Eat Me, Delicious
Moroccan Barley and Pea Shoot Salad from The Taste Space
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.) counter customizable free hit
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More to Chew On:


  1. I will definitely check out this book. The barley dish looks fabulous!

  2. OOOh, that looks so good. I love mushrooms and will definitely have to try it.

    Thanks for sharing and thanks for thinking up this event.

  3. Kalyn, that looks delicious! I could make this veggie by using veggie stock or just water...I have never cooked with barley and would love to try it.

  4. Whenever I fell sick and was feeling weak,barley water was what I was given to drink as a child.Barley has a lot of nutritional value and is used in preparing porridge during convalescence and diarrhoea.It is also used as anti-inflammatory diuretic.
    This dish or cooking mushrooms with barley,is something I heard for the first time.It looks good,Kalyn,thanks for sharing.

  5. Sounds & looks good! Love barley, shrooms, & Bittman so I'm sure I would enjoy this!

  6. Wow that looks absolutely wonderful. I always forget about barley when I'm at the grocery store...this should make it pretty easy for me NOT to pass it by next time...Thanks!

  7. Great information, and I love that close-up photo. : )

  8. I'm having to delete comments that contain links because they are bumping my sidebar down. I hope no one is offended.

  9. Hi Kalyn! I tried this recipe last week and even though I didn't have porcini mushrooms, it was delicious. Thank you.

  10. This picture really caught my eye, and I couldn't wait to try this recipe, even though the weather is so HOT. I made this yesterday, and it was a big hit! I added a bit of rosemary, because that plant of mine was looking a lot better than the parsley, and used buttons and portobello mushrooms. Such a great, basic, and versitile recipe. Not to mention veyr healthy and filling.

  11. Mushrooms have got to be one of my most favorite foods! I love that you use both dried and fresh.

  12. Absolutely love this new recipe of barley. Looks awesome :)

  13. Pilaf made with any grain is such wonderful comfort food. I bet the mushrooms are divine in this!

  14. Mary, I think the double mushrooms really make it good!

    Priya, thanks. Hope you will try it.

    Karina, the combo of mushrooms and mushroom soaking water is heavenly.

  15. This looks so good and healthy. What a great way to use mushrooms!

  16. Thanks Alison. The mushrooms really make the dish.

  17. That looks wonderfully delicious, and quite hearty :)

  18. I love, absolutely love barley, and your preparation is scrumptious!

    I am inspired...

  19. Sharan, thanks. Glad you like it.

    Sally, I'm also a huge barley fan. I really love this recipe.

  20. What terrific photos of a difficult to make look good dish. I always have problems with brown food in bowls.

    And I need to make more barley dishes

  21. Once again, I love that wayback machine that lets us see how much we've learned! Great photos really bring this recipe to life. It's just my kind of dish, for any time of year.

  22. Isn't it funny to see the old photos? And I was so proud of them at the time. (At that point in time, I was proud that I even knew how to transfer a photo to the computer and post it on the blog!)

  23. Hi Kalyn,

    I have the exact same giant container of dried mushrooms from Costco. Not sure I will be able to use the whole jar in my lifetime so am pondering the lucky recipient after I am gone. You might be it!! LOL!

    I love barley and mushrooms and so I am going to make this next week when I am in Phase II. I think this would freeze nicely since I will have to dole it out in increments.

    Also loved the last mushroom recipe with spinach and parmesan. That was "Before SBD."

    Thanks for all that you do. This website is a life saver.

    Peace and blessings,

  24. Libby, so glad you're enjoying the blog. I do think this will freeze well. Good luck using up those mushrooms!

  25. I have a great way to use some of those mushrooms, powder them. I put them in my spicegrinder and wiz then till they are powdered. You can also do this in your blender. I keep it in a glass jar and use the powder any were I want mushroon flaver. Give it a try! Deborah

  26. Deborah, I do love that idea, thanks!

  27. What a great dish, this looks amazing!! Lovely photos! :)

  28. I love barley but its been ages i cooked with it. I actually just have a couple of Indian recipes that I cook with it and this and those links are going to my folder of must try recipes

  29. Kelly, thanks. Glad you like it.

    Kelsum I think barley with Indian flavors sounds great.

  30. Confession time: I have never cooked with barley! Your post makes me want to try. Thanks once again for inspiring me.


  31. Donna, you must try cooking barley in something! It's really tasty.


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