Mixed Grain Pilaf

rice pilaf on spoon
Photo: Joseph Scafuro

This medley owes its substantial texture to sturdy little grains of pearl barley, wheat berries, and millet, as well as to a hearty helping of wild rice. Fragrant garlic, onion, and assorted mushrooms contribute rousing flavors. When vegetable stock takes the place of chicken stock, the dish easily becomes vegetarian.


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped (1 ½ cups)

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 4 cups thinly sliced white mushrooms (about ¾ pound)

  • ¾ cup thinly sliced cremini mushrooms (about 2 ounces)

  • 2 cups pearl barley

  • 1 cup hard wheat berries

  • 1 cup wild rice

  • ½ cup millet

  • 7 cups homemade or low-sodium store-bought chicken stock

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil and butter in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 6 to 8 minutes. Add mushrooms. Raise heat to medium-high, and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in all of the grains. Cook, stirring often, 12 minutes. Stir in stock; bring to a boil.

  2. Cover, and transfer to oven. Bake until grains are tender, 40 to 50 minutes (check after 40 minutes, but don't remove lid before then). Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

  3. Add grains, and stir well, coating them with oil. Cook, stirring often, for about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in stock, and bring to a boil. Cover pot, and put in oven. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (check after 30 minutes; remove lid and cook a little longer if grains need to be softer). Fold in chopped herbs. Drizzle with Marsala wine. Season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.

  4. To reheat: Place the pilaf mixture in a buttered, ovenproof casserole. Do not fold in the herbs or add Marsala. Cover, and refrigerate until ready to serve. When ready to serve, bring the pilaf to room temperature, about 20 minutes. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Drizzle with Marsala. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the top of the casserole, and butter it. Place the parchment on the pilaf, butter-side down. Place in the oven until heated through, about 30 minutes.

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