This week, I wanted to prepare a dish involving both Swiss chard and mushrooms. I found this recipe on the New Yor Times website (I didn't know that the NYT had a recipe section.)

It's not a bad recipe. The interesting thing is that you use the barley cooking water and you add it to the mushroom Swiss chard preparation. It produces an interesting texture. But I think that it would be much better if the barley was cooked in vegetable stock instead of just plain water. It would definitely be more tasty, in my opinion.

Ingredients (serves 2 people):
-800 ml vegetable stock
-100g pearl barley
-1 generous bunch of Swiss chard or rainbow chard
-7/8 white mushrooms
-2 tbsp olive oil
-2 garlic cloves minced
-ground pepper
-fresh thyme

Step-by-step instructions:
1. Combine the barley (or rice) and vegetable stock in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the barley for about 50 minutes (or 35 minutes if you're using rice). Set a strainer over a bowl and drain the grains. Retain the cooking water.

2. While the barley/rice is cooking, stem the chard and wash thoroughly. Chop coarsely.

3. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat in a large frying pan. Add the mushrooms stirring often, until the mushrooms sear and begin to soften.

4. Add the garlic, thyme and a pinch of salt and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the chard and raise the heat to high. Cook, stirring, until the chard wilts, which shouldn’t take more than 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Once the chard has wilted, add most of the cooking water/vegetable stock from the barley or rice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 3 minutes, or until the chard is tender. Uncover, stir and if you wish to have more sauce with the vegetables, add more cooking water from the grains and stir until it reduces to the desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle on the remaining oil and serve with the grains.