1. Heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saucepan. Add the barley and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the barley smells toasty, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the lemon zest, 3 sprigs thyme, and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. When most of the water is absorbed, add the chopped parsley.
3. Remove the stems of shiitake mushrooms and discard. Slice the mushrooms into 1/4-inch wide strips. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the remaining 3 sprigs thyme and continue to cook until brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
4. Spoon the barley into warm bowls and top with the mushrooms. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top. Garnish with parsley leaves and serve hot.
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