Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Warm Chicken and Barley Salad with Skillet Mushrooms, Garlic, and Herbs

Lately, I've been on a total roast chicken kick. Ever since I made the best chicken of my life last weekend, and then proceeded to pull together this delicious, healthy, warm salad (pictured above) with the leftovers, and THEN froze the bones and carcass to make broth with later, I've felt a little bit like a pioneer woman. Or like Katniss in The Hunger Games, hunting and foraging for food. No? Okay.

Anyway, the point is, never have I ever engaged in such complete and total nose-to-tail eating. It made me feel resourceful and prudent and unwasteful. It made me feel like a more responsible, better home cook. And the salad was very tasty. Win/win. xo

P.S. If you're feeling lazy and don't want to roast a chicken to make this salad, just pick up a rotisserie chicken from your local supermarket. Easy.

Warm Chicken and Barley Salad with Skillet Mushrooms, Garlic, and Herbs
From A Bird in the Oven and Then Some, by Mindy Fox
8 cups water
Flakey coarse sea salt
3/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup plus 3 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps cut in half, if large
1/2 pound button mushroom halved or quartered, if large
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups large shreds roast chicken
Freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint
4 ounces arugula, tough stems removed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 lemon, quartered

Bring the 8 cups water and 1 teaspoon coarse salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the barley. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce to a low boil and cook until tender yet still firm to the bite, 40 to 45 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the barley is ready, cook the mushrooms. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 1/3 of the mushrooms and stir once or twice, then cook without stirring, until mushrooms begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan and add more mushrooms in the same manner, until all of the mushrooms are in the skillet and nicely browned, about 10 minutes total (if, towards the end, the first handful is browning too much, push them on top of the more newly added). Remove the skillet from the heat. Add the garlic, then the chicken and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Drain the cooked barley and transfer to a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the remaining oil, the parsley, chive, and mint. Then add the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

In a second bowl, toss the arugula with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and the vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve the arugula with the warm barley and mushrooms, with a squeeze of lemon over the top.


  1. For such a cute girl with amazing hair you wear so much eyeliner! You should get make up lessons! I love your blog and recipes.

  2. Any recipe that uses mushrooms and chicken together I am interested in! This sounds like a great salad and I am going to try it out this week!