Friday, January 4, 2013

Mushroom and Chicken Barley Pilaf


A delicious and nutritious pilaf made with onions, mushrooms, mizuna, chicken, and barley.  A great dinner on a cool rainy night.

All week the weather here in Honolulu has been rainy, dark, and chilly (I would say cold, but it's only in the 60s--Fahrenheit which in reality is not cold but when you are used to sunny 80 degree days if feels cold).  While I prefer warm sunny days, this weather has its uses mainly being I feel inspired to make winter time recipes.

I have been thinking I should incorporate more whole grains into my diet and I came across a recipe for Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Barley.  This recipe was used as a side dish so I made my own tweaks to make it a full meal.  I also recently found another mushroom recipe that I had to try  called Bourbon Mushrooms.  My recipe mixes these two recipes and adds some new items to make a filling and nutritious one pot meal.

  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 5 cups sliced mushrooms (I used a combination of crimini, button, king trumpet, and shiitake)
  • 4 cups mizuna, chopped (or any slightly peppery green)
  • 1/4 cup bourbon (I used Jim Beam, but any would be fine or use a few dashes of worchestire sauce instead)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dried barley
  • 1 1/4-2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped (precooked) chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

In a large pot heat about 1-2 tsp olive oil over medium heat then add onion,  cook uncovered for about 30 minutes stirring occasionally until onions caramelize.

Then, add the mushrooms and stir.  Cook for about 15 minutes more and add garlic and thyme cooking for about 1 minute until fragrant.

Add the mizuna (or other green of your choice.  I just learned what mizuna was the other day.  I kept seeing it at the market and it was inexpensive and neat looking so I asked around until someone was able to tell me what it was, then I googled it) and bourbon.  Cover the pot and let the mizuna cook down until wilted it should only be a minute or two.

Add salt and pepper (I read some where that you should only add salt at the end when cooking mushrooms)  then add the barley and chicken broth.  Bring to boil and reduce temperature to simmer and let cook for 30-45 minutes until barley softens and the liquid is absorbed (if you soak the barley overnight the cooking time is shorter).  

Add the chicken and pecans last and turn off the heat and cover for a few minutes for the chicken to heat. (This is a great use for leftover chicken of any sort.  I used leg and thigh meat, but breast meat would be fine too.  For a vegetarian meal omit the chicken completely and use a mushroom broth instead of chicken broth.)

Makes 4 servings.

I served this pilaf with a side of cauliflower.  It made a very filling and satisfying meal.  It was great.  If you like mushrooms this is the recipe for you and it's nutritious.  Enjoy.

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