There is nothing better than coming home from a busy day of work, open the door, and smell dinner cooking.
On the days that I work, my husband cooks dinner. It is never a frozen entree or fast food.
He shops, he preps, he tastes, he obsesses and he reviews what might have been done differently... all while sipping a glass of wine.
He very much likes to fix casseroles, pasta and stews, and invariably will make enough that there are leftovers for another meal or two.
We have both been eating much less meat than years ago but tonight, he felt like some pork chops simply seasoned with salt and pepper and sautéed.
To go with this, he prepared this barley mushroom casserole. He found the recipe on FoodNetwork.com.
2 Tbsp. BUTTER
2 medium ONIONS, finely diced
1 CARROT, finely chopped
1 CELERY RIB, thinly sliced
3/4 lb. MUSHROOMS, thinly sliced (such as shitake, button, baby portobellos, and oyster)
1 1/2 c. PEARL BARLEY
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh THYME (or 3/4 tsp. dried thyme)
3/4 tsp. SALT
Freshly ground BLACK PEPPER, to taste
4 1/2 c. boiling VEGETABLE STOCK
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add the onions, carrot, celery, mushrooms, barley, thyme, salt and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms begin to brown... about 10 minutes.
Scrape the mixture into a shallow 2 1/2 quart baking dish, and add the boiling vegetable stock.
Cover tightly and bake 60-75 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. (Be careful of the steam when removing the cover.)
The barley should have a slightly crunchy texture when done.
If it is too hard after all the stock has been absorbed, add some boiling stock or water and cook 10 to 15 minutes more.
Just before the casserole is done cooking, sauté or grill several pork chops.
It would be nice served with a dish of applesauce on the side.
This would also make a delicious vegetarian entrée with the barley casserole served in a grilled portobello mushroom.
Pour yourself a glass of cold beer, and bon appétit!