Mushroom-barley stuffing for cabbage rolls

    • 2 oz. dried black mushrooms
    • ⅓ cup barley
    • ½ lb. fresh mushrooms
    • 1 large yellow onion
    • 4 Tbs. butter
    • salt
    • fresh-ground black pepper

    1. Put the dried mushrooms in a bowl with 2 cups hot water and allow them to rehydrate for about 1 hour. Put the barley in a small saucepan with 1 cup water and let simmer gently for 1½ to 2 hours, until tender.
    2. When the mushrooms have plumped up, take them out of the bowl, one or two at a time, and wash them carefully under running water to get rid of all the gritty dirt that they conceal in such abundance. Set them aside.
    3. Take the liquid in which the mushrooms were soaked and strain through muslin or through a good paper coffee filter. Measure out 1 cup of the filtered liquid and add it to the simmering barley.
    4. Put the soaked dark mushrooms through the medium blade of a food mill.
    5. Wash the fresh mushrooms and halve them, then slice the halves thinly.
    6. Peel and coarsely chop the onion.
    7. Melt the butter in a large skillet and add the onions and fresh mushrooms. Sauté them until the onions are transparent, then add the dark mushrooms and season with salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste. Sauté this mixture for another 10 or 15 minutes, stirring often.
    8. When the barley is quite tender, add it, along with the remaining liquid, to the mushroom mixture. Stir it all up well and simmer gently, covered, for another ½ hour or so, stirring occasionally.