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Houbový Kuba
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 10 mins
Houbový Kuba is a deliciously earthy recipe that consists in mushrooms and barley and is often prepared during the Christmas season in the Czech Republic.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Czech, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Author: Nicole Rossetti le Strange
  • 1 cup dried mushrooms
  • cup cold water
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 tablespoons butter , divided
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or broth
  • 2 large onions , finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • Salt and pepper , to taste
  1. Place the dried mushrooms into a bowl or large jug, pour over 1½ cups/400ml water, and leave to soak overnight.

  2. Place the pearl barley into a suitable-sized bowl or jug, and add enough water to cover by 2-3” (5-8cm). Leave to soak overnight.

  3. The next day, drain and gently squeeze out the mushrooms but keep the soaking water, and set it aside.
  4. Drain the barley (discard the water), rinse it well.
  5. In a medium-large skillet, heat half of the butter over a medium heat, and gently toast the barley for a few minutes, until it starts to turn golden. Keep it moving around the pan to prevent it burning.

  6. Stir the mushrooms into the barley, and add 1 cup (250ml) of the mushroom soaking water.

  7. Once that has been absorbed, add the rest of the mushroom water, and half of the vegetable stock. Give the barley and mushrooms a stir, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes or so, until the barley is soft. Stir occasionally, and add more stock as necessary.
  8. While the barley is cooking, over a low heat, gently fry the onions and garlic in the rest of the butter, until they start to caramelize.
  9. When the barley and mushrooms have around 10-15 minutes to go, pre-heat your oven to 350F/180C.

  10. Once the barley is cooked, remove the skillet from the heat, and mix in the onions and garlic, plus the caraway seeds and marjoram. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. If you’re not using an oven-proof skillet, transfer the houbový kuba to a greased oven dish, then bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Serve with pickled vegetables.
  13. Store leftovers for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.