I’ve got well into using pearl barley instead of rice for risotto lately. It seems to retain a lovely chewiness when you cook it, and more often comes out like a shit-hot risotto, rather than going porridgey as easily as rice can.
Softly fried leeks make this sweeter and more interesting than a simple mushroom risotto (and allow you to use bog-standard mushrooms without spoiling it) and while the broccoli was a last minute addition for the sake of getting some greens in me, it actually really added something.
I don’t doubt this would taste effin’ delish with some blue cheese, cheddar or parmesan added at the end, I used a couple of tablespoons of cream cheese which was perfectly nice, and a LOT healthier. Don’t judge me.
Click through for recipe.
100g pearl barley
1 leek, chopped
5-6 mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
half a head of broccoli, chopped pretty small
1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock
a splash of white wine or vermouth if you’re feeling wild
2 tablespoons of cream cheese
Heat a bit of olive oil and slowly fry the leeks, shrooms and garlic on a medium heat for 10mins. Try not to brown them. Sticking a lid on will help.
Season with salt and pepper and add the pearly barley. Stir well for a couple of minutes to coat and begin to toast the barley. Splash in the vermouth/wine, if using, and allow to evaporate.
Ladle in a bit of stock, simmer until absorbed, repeat until you have about 200mls of stock left. This will take about 20-25mins.
Add the broccoli and the rest of the stock and simmer until absorbed. Taste. If the barley is still too chewy, add a little more water, absorb, and repeat until you have the texture of al dente rice. 1 litre of stock should suffice tbh.
Stir in your cream cheese (or actual cheese if you have that kind of RECKLESS ABANDON).