mushroom barley ragout

October 2, 2011

Yesterday, Fall and I met for the first time of the season at the back door. I went out to take out the garbage and there she was – crisp cool air, red and orange leaves dancing about in the wind, low saturated light. I had been wanting to try this recipe from Ottolenghi’s Plenty and decided that in honour of Fall’s arrival, I would make it for lunch. Barley is such a warming grain, hearty and comforting. And its the perfect companion to mushrooms and wine in this rich ragout that I have a feeling will take us through to spring. Serve it beside a piece of toasted baguette or hearty sourdough bread for a quick, easy lunch or super.

1/2 cup pearl barley

3/4 oz dried porcini

3/4 cup hot water

4 cups mixed shiitake and button mushrooms, cleaned and halved

2 tbsp olive oil

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 cup white wine

2 tbsp chopped parsley, plus extra

Salt and black pepper

Simmer the barley in plenty of water for 50-70 minutes, until tender but with a bite. Drain and set aside.

Put the porcini in a bowl with the hot water. Put the fresh mushrooms in a hot pan with the oil, garlic and thyme, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for four minutes. Add the wine and let it bubble away for five minutes, then add the porcini and soaking liquid, season, and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and barley. Season to taste.

Serve over some flatbread, toasted baguette or just straight up in a nice big soup bowl.

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