Barley is a whole grain that’s high in fiber, high in protein, and low in price. It all sounds great, but have you ever wondered, what the heck do I do with barley?! So did I, until I discovered this recipe. And now I can’t stop making it (mostly because my husband begs for it constantly!). This baked barley with mushrooms is warm and satisfying on a cold autumn day, making it the perfect veg friendly side dish for Thanksgiving. It also lends itself well to experimentation; try using different types of mushrooms, roasted veggies, or herbs like rosemary and parsley.
Baked Barley with Mushrooms
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 cup pearled barley (pearled barley has the hull removed, making it faster to cook with)
– 8 oz cremini mushrooms
– 2 garlic cloves
– 1 yellow onion
– 1-2 carrots
– 2 cups mushroom or vegetable broth
– 1/2 tsp thyme (I prefer fresh, but dried works just fine!)
Step 1: While the oven is preheating to 350, prep your veggies. Mince the garlic, chop the onions, peel and roughly chop the carrot, and slice the mushrooms.
Step 2: Soften the minced garlic, onion, and chopped carrot together in a pan with the olive oil. A dutch oven with a lid works best, but you can always cook everything in a pan first and transfer it to an oven safe container later.
Step 3: Add your sliced mushrooms, and continue to cook until they soften and deepen in color, about 5 minutes.
Step 4: Add the barley to the pan and lightly toast until the barley becomes golden brown and smells slightly nutty.
Step 5: Add the mushroom broth to the pan and stir to combine. Add the thyme, and season to taste. Then, transfer everything to an oven safe dish or if using a dutch oven, put the lid on and place in the oven for about 1 hour.
Step 6: Remove the baked barley from the oven, and fluff with a fork. Bon appetit!
Simple, flavorful and filling. The barley is chewy and dense, and toasting it gives it a wonderful nutty complexity that makes this dish even more comforting. Tell me, what are your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes?
Photo credit: Sarah McEwing