A Deep, Woody, Earthy and Unfortunately Crunchy Dish

I find that I end up using the same words to describe flavor of different dishes. First off, there are only so many ways to describe food. Second, I, like all of you, am a creature of habit.

The blend of mushrooms, vegetable broth and barley brought the word “earthy” to mind immediately. In looking for alternatives, I found that the use of earthy to describe food is not as common as I thought. In fact, it is way down the list. What list might you ask?

I did a search on food adjectives and there is a whole lot out there. Lists abound. Some are for those creating menus. Many of those have cautions over the use of “Low calorie” or “grass-fed” or similar ones to make sure you are using them correctly and won’t get into trouble. Other lists are for food bloggers and restaurant reviewers. I looked at several extensive lists and only one had “earthy” on it.

Other than generic words for good or bad, there were a few on the list that describe this dish:

  • crunchy – this was unexpected and shouldn’t be there. When cooking the barley, I just didn’t see to put a lid on the pan. The barley just didn’t get done well enough, even with another 10 minutes with the cover on (after the initial cooking). I hope to not use that word in the future when I make this dish
  • woody – I take this very similar to earthy. Good down home flavor
  • deep – a flavor that sticks

Photo Dec 21, 5 47 55 PM

While there is a lot of brown in this picture, it was a decent dish.

Photo Dec 21, 8 27 40 AM

The sliced mushrooms at the edge of this picture snuck in. They were out for another dish and just had to find their way into the picture, but not the dish. I also didn’t have the enoki mushrooms here.

Photo Dec 21, 5 05 41 PM

Cooking up the shallot.

Photo Dec 21, 5 10 55 PM

Browning the barley.

Photo Dec 21, 5 11 08 PM

With the broth….um….where is the lid???

Photo Dec 21, 5 47 50 PM

Creamy mushroom and barley pilaf


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp sherry
  • 170 g pkg shiitake mushrooms, about 2 cups sliced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 170 g pkg enoki or beech mushrooms, about 1 1/2 cups trimmed
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • fresh thyme leaves (optional)


Heat a medium saucepan over medium. Add olive oil, then shallot. Cook until it starts to soften, about 1 min. Add barley and stir until glossy, about 1 min. Add sherry and stir often until barley has absorbed all of the liquid, about 1 min. Add shiitakes and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, 18 to 20 min.

Separate enokis and stir into pilaf. Cook for 2 more min. Stir in parmesan and season with pepper. Garnish with thyme.

Nutritional Info:

calories protein carbohydrates fat fibre sodium

Source: http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/vegetarian/creamy-mushroom-and-barley-pilaf/

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Cheese2, kosher, Lunch2, Recipes, Side Dish, vegan, Vegetable2, Vegetarian

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at rantingchef.com

6 Comments on “A Deep, Woody, Earthy and Unfortunately Crunchy Dish”

  1. March 26, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Yes, barley in a bag take a good time to cook. Not as long as wild rice but longer than normal rice, just to create a comparison.

    Until you got to the word cruchy, you could have been describing a good, single-malt scotch.


  2. March 26, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Love your descriptions of the dish!


  3. March 26, 2013 at 6:26 pm #

    Yum! Sounds positively woody! My junior deerslayer thinks we should try this one. I think she was sold on the parmesan!


  4. March 26, 2013 at 9:02 pm #

    Surely not woody! That conjures up images of stringy dry celery… or cinnamon sticks stuck in the teeth. And I think this dish looks, well, GOOD. Earthy even, with the mushrooms and barley. Far better than any old mushy rice dish. Bring on the crunch!


  5. March 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Thank you for writing such an entertaining food blog, you certainly make me chuckle with your descriptions. I too am a fellow foodie. Thank you for the like today, much appreciated 🙂


  6. March 27, 2013 at 10:14 pm #

    I love how you write! You make me smile and you always encourage me to keep experimenting with food! My son made up a protein chocolate ball recipe adapted from another recipe! All about the protein!!! They are lovely, but I think strictly for body builders!


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