Pearl Barley & Mushroom Risotto

As you know, I am trying to learn more about cooking with grains and pulses as part of my new anti cancer regime, and I had the idea this morning when looking through my cupboards to try making a risotto with pearl barley instead of arborio rice. I have to say, it’s been a huge success! The results are very similar, and nutritionally it kicks the ass of any rice made risotto- about one third of the calories and carb content, lower in fat and higher in fibre. This is a great recipe for the vegetarian who is keeping an eye on what they eat, or for anyone who wants to up their veggie intake. I’m serving it with pork chops tonight, but I think it would stand up perfectly well on its own, maybe with some nice garlic bread on the side, or an interesting salad.

I did add chilli which gave it a kick, but this is obviously optional. You could throw in any number of ingredients depending on what you have in your cupboards.

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a side dish or starter.

1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 green chilli, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped (other herbs like coriander, thyme or marjoram in season would be lovely too)
1 25g/1oz pack dried mixed mushrooms
100g peas
150g dry weight pearl barley
25g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 dsp half fat creme fraiche
1 tbsp olive oil
100ml white wine
1 vegetable stock cube

1. Heat the oil in a large pan, and saute the onion over a medium heat for five minutes, until translucent.
2. Boil a full kettle- put dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover in boiling water. Leave to stand.
3. Add garlic and chilli to the pan, and cook for a further minute.
4. Add pearl barley to the pan and stir well. Pour in white wine and cook until absorbed.
5. Strain off the liquid from the mushrooms into the pan. Add the stock cube, stir well and simmer until absorbed.
6. Add boiling water to the pan, a ladelful at a time, until barley is fairly tender but still with a bite to it. This will take around 20 minutes.
7. Add the mushrooms and peas, stir well and cook for a minute or so to heat through.
8. Add cheese, creme fraiche and parsley. Stir well and serve immediately.

Sorry for the crap, dark picture! 😀


3 Responses to “Pearl Barley & Mushroom Risotto”

  1. 1 Bernadette
    January 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Thank you Suzy – as a vegetarian I certainly have to try this one.
    Hope the chest infection is now all cleared up and that all be well for your last round of chemo.
    XXX and (((hugs – which apparently are now being offered for free !!, on Facebook)))

    Chest infection is still in town. Grrr.

  2. January 18, 2009 at 4:27 pm

    I haven’t had any luck with barley so far, and when I tried making barley risotto it came out both mushy and undercooked. So I’m really glad you made it work!! 🙂

    It was really good- Ian gave it the thumbs up too. I’ll definitely do it again, sorry it didn’t work out for you!

  3. 3 Rosalind
    January 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm

    Dear Suzy,
    I was horrified to hear about the storm and the tree. It was much calmer here. You really did have a lucky escape. I am going to Dublin at the weekend for the christening of Vi’s first grandchild. Martin tells me that Ricky would like to fly! Would you consider a local flight, e.g. at Newtownards? It would be exciting and cut out all the horrible waiting and queuing that spoil the experience. Love R

    It will be cheaper to fly to Edinburgh and back, lol! Have a lovely time at the christening. Will call you later. xx

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