YIELD: 6 servings
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 cup barley
1 teaspoon salt, divided
4 organic sprigs thyme, divided
1 1/2 cups organic walnut halves
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 organic shallots, chopped
1 clove organic garlic, minced
1 organic leek, white part only, sliced in half and chopped into half rings
3 ribs organic celery, chopped
1 tbsp organic naturally brewed soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped organic parsley
2 tablespoons organic unsalted butter (optional), plus more to grease pan
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups hot water for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms, rinse in cold water to remove any grit, and chop roughly.
2. Filter the soaking water through a paper towel, coffee filter, or cheesecloth to remove sediment and reserve mushroom liquid.
3. Cook barley in mushroom liquid, replacing an equivalent of the water with all but 1/2 cup of the reserved mushroom liquid, and adding 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 sprigs of the thyme.
4. Arrange walnuts on rimmed cookie sheet and bake 10 to 15 minutes, checking frequently to avoid burning them. Allow walnuts to cool and chop roughly.
5. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, and cook shallots until translucent and soft, about five minutes.
6. Remove leaves from remaining thyme sprigs and add to pan, along with leeks and celery. Cook, stirring frequently, until celery softens, about 5 minutes. Add chopped mushrooms, soy sauce and saute for another minute. Add remaining half cup of reserved mushroom liquid and continue to cook until pan is dry, about 3 minutes. Season with remaining half teaspoon salt and freshly grated black pepper to taste.
7. Remove thyme stems from pilaf and in a large bowl mix pilaf with contents of saute pan, walnuts and parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust as desired. Grease a 9-by-14 inch baking pan with butter, turn stuffing into the pan, dot with butter if you like and bake for 20 minutes, until the top is slightly crispy.
8. Make ahead: Can be assembled two days ahead up to step 5. Bring to room temperature before baking.