barley casserole

My sisters and I have a daydream about one day opening up a bakery/diner in Des Moines. We'd serve muffins and delicious breads in the morning and for lunch we would have a Casserole of the Day. I'm not sure if that's supposed to be capitalized or not, but in my head it is because it's just that great of an idea.

Since both Sarah and Kathleen have the delicious treats down on lock, I figure I should try to make my name in the savory department. That's really where I do most of my shopping anyway. So sometimes I like to pretend I'm testing out recipes and that I need to make casseroles, you know, because I'm a team player. This is how I came upon the Barley Casserole recipe. It floated onto my monitor while searching Epicurious for how to use up some mushrooms without having to go to the grocery store. It had me at casserole.

At the bakery I am going to suggest we serve it with a dallop of thyme sour cream. No charge. Because that's just the sweet kind of place we pretend run.

adapted from House & Garden | January 1965
by James A. Beard

serves 6 as a side dish, fed me twice as a main course. don't judge me.

1/2 pound mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, chopped very fine
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearl barley
Salt, pepper
Cayenne pepper
2-3 cups chicken broth

Slice the mushroom caps and chop the stems. Heat the butter in a skillet and add the chopped onion. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes and add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook another 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, heat the broth to boiling. Add the barley to the skillet and brown it lightly, mixing it well with the onions and mushrooms. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour into a buttered 8x8 casserole. Add enough boiling broth to cover the mixture and come 1/2" above it. Cover the casserole tightly and bake in a 350°F. oven for 35 minutes. Taste the barley for doneness. Add more broth, if necessary, and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and the barley tender.

I have been grating a layer of Parmesan cheese on top of the casserole when I take it out of the oven so it has a gooey top layer. Next time I think I'm going to try incorporating asparagus spears as well.


Sarah said...

I can't wait for you to make this for me. I think it would go great with a crusty bread.

Kathleen said...

This sounds so good! Call me when you make it with asparagus. You can tell me how perfect it is, and I'll feel all jealous.

And if you move here, I'm willing to go from "daydream" to "business plan".