Leek, mushroom and broccoli pearl barley risotto

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).

Season. Eat.

One Response to “Leek, mushroom and broccoli pearl barley risotto”

  1. Ellie Says:

    This looks freaking amazing!!!! Slightly healthier than my fried sausages and left over boulanger potatoes…

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