Creamy barley with courgette and mushroom

Creamy barley with courgette and mushroom

Scandinavian Comfort Food
Columbus Leth

Grains cooked this way are often compared to a risotto, but there is a difference in how much starch rice releases compared to barley, and so the finished texture is not the same.

In Scandinavia, this creamy dish is a lot like the different porridges we eat. Porridge has been everyday food for centuries, and when I was growing up we had it for dinner once a week; often Monday would be porridge day in many households. It has become fashionable again, and in Copenhagen we even have a porridge restaurant called GRØD where they serve a lot of savoury dishes for dinner.


Quantity Ingredient
1 courgette
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
200g brown mushrooms
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoons thyme leaves, chopped
250g barley
700ml water
50g butter
50g parmesan, grated, plus extra to serve
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
chopped curly parsley, to serve


  1. Cut the courgette (zucchini) into 5-mm dice. Heat the oil in a large, deep-sided frying pan, add the courgette dice and sauté until starting to brown. Clean the mushrooms and cut them into quarters. Add the mushrooms, shallot, garlic and thyme and sauté for 5 minutes, then add the barley and stir well. Let it cook for a few minutes then add the water with salt and pepper to taste. Let it simmer, covered, for 20–25 minutes over a low heat, stirring and checking now and then that the water has not all evaporated, adding a little more if necessary.
  2. When the barley is cooked, add the butter and Parmesan, check the seasoning and stir well. Serve right away, topped with extra grated Parmesan and some chopped parsley, with a salad on the side.
comfort food
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