Carpathia Pearl Barley Pilaf Chicken Mushrooms

Oven-baked pearl barley pilaf with chicken and mushrooms

  • serves 4
  • Easy

Often made with basmati rice, this easy, filling meal is one of the most popular weeknight dinners in Romania


This Romanian rice dish comes from Carpathia: Food from the heart of Romania by Irina Georgescu. Irina says… “Easy to make and filling, often made with basmati rice, this is probably the most cooked dish for week-night dinners in Romania. In some parts of the country it’s called Serbian pilaf, in a delicious amalgamation of Turkish and Mediterranean flavours.”



  • sunflower oil 3 tbsp
  • whole chicken 1, jointed (ask the butcher or use 8 chicken pieces)
  • onions 2, sliced
  • pearl barley 300g
  • celeriac ¼, peeled and diced
  • celery 2-3 sticks, diced
  • carrot 1, diced
  • red pepper 1, diced
  • chopped tomatoes 400g tin
  • chestnut mushrooms 200g, quartered
  • chicken stock 600ml
  • fine sea salt 2 tsp
  • black peppercorns ground to make 1 tsp
  • butter 25g
  • flat-leaf parsley a small bunch, roughly chopped (optional)


  • Step 1

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. In a casserole, heat the oil and brown the chicken pieces on all sides until really caramelised. Transfer to a plate. In the same oil, cook the onions for 10 minutes over a medium heat until they begin to char. Add the pearl barley and coat the grains well with the oil, cooking for a few more minutes.

  • Step 2

    Tip the vegetables into the pan with the chopped tomatoes, mushrooms, stock, salt and pepper, and stir gently. Add the pieces of chicken back in, then cover the pan with kitchen foil and put the lid on top.

  • Step 3

    Cook in the oven for 40 minutes, then uncover the casserole and cook for a further 10 minutes or until the barley is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Roughly chop the butter and dot the pieces around over the top. Sprinkle with parsley to serve, if you like.

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 901
  • Fat 39g
  • Saturates 11.3g
  • Carbs 728g
  • Sugars 11.5g
  • Fibre 7.9g
  • Protein 60.9g
  • Salt 3.9g