Pearl Pilaf

Deane is director of The Times Test Kitchen

High-fiber, high-carbohydrate pearl barley is what gives this pilaf substance--and great flavor. It's tossed with mushrooms, steamed vegetables, a little garlic and green onion. Cilantro and crumbled tofu are sprinkled on top.

Chicken broth cooked with lemon juice and the mushrooms acts as a sauce, adding flavor and moisture to the barley.

Note that the barley may be steamed instead of boiled. For steaming, the broth should be reduced to about 1 1/4 cups for 1 cup barley. Steam about 50 minutes until liquid is absorbed.


Barley may be served hot or at room temperature.

1 cup pearl barley

3 1/4 cups nonfat low-sodium chicken broth

3 carrots

1/2 pound broccoli

2 cloves garlic, minced

Nonstick cooking spray or olive oil

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

1/2 pound brown crimini mushrooms, sliced

4 green onions, sliced

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 (12.3-ounce) container low-fat, extra-firm tofu, crumbled

Bring barley and 3 cups chicken broth to boil in saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 45 minutes.

Cut carrots into 1/4-inch thick diagonal slices. Steam carrots until tender, about 20 minutes.

Cut tough stems from broccoli, then cut tops into florets. Steam until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.

Lightly saute garlic in wok or heavy skillet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or lightly misted with olive oil. Add button and crimini mushrooms and saute, stirring, until moisture begins to come out of mushrooms, about 2 minutes. Stir occasionally until mushrooms are completely cooked, about 5 more minutes. Stir in green onions. Toss and stir-fry about 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth, lemon juice and salt.

Toss mushroom mixture with barley. Toss steamed carrots and broccoli with barley. Stir in cilantro. If barley seems dry, add a bit more chicken broth.

4 servings. Each serving:

300 calories; 530 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 55 grams carbohydrates; 19 grams protein; 2.49 grams fiber.

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