Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mushroom Barley Risotto

This is the last blast of cold air before spring.  Generally, I am no longer interested in the standard winter vegetables, hearty soups and heavy meals.  So, to spice it up some, I changed a familiar recipe - risotto - by using barley as the grain rather than rice.  It was delicious and incredibly good for you as well.  As you can see with the photo, it is also rich and hearty befitting good winter food.

Plus, you'll definitely need the kids' help for this one.  I generally chop the onions which the daughter then browns when I chop the mushrooms and garlic.  She'll start the risotto stirring and I'll finish.  Then, with a flourish, she'll add the cheese.  It is family cooking at its best.

Quart or so of chicken stock (homemade is best, but canned will work)
Still in the Pot!!!

  • 2 tsp butter
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 large, diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup barley
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb mushrooms, sliced (I used white cap, but any you like)
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup Gruyère cheese, optional (can use Edam)

  • Directions
    1) Melt butter in large stock pot on medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until starting to brown (about 7 minutes.) 
    2) Reduce heat to medium.  Add mushrooms and garlic to pot along with olive oil.  Cook until mushrooms are dark in color and beginning to get tender (about 5 minutes.)
    3) Add barley, thyme and oregano to pot; stirring for a couple of minutes to absorb the existing liquid.
    4) Start adding enough chicken stock to cover the barley; bring mixture to boil. Simmer until most of stock is absorbed, stirring frequently, then add more stock to cover the barley.  Simmer, stir, add - simmer, stir, add, until the barley is tender, about 40 minutes.
    5) Take the pot off the heat, add salt, pepper, a little more broth (otherwise the risotto hardens) and the cheese.  Stir until cheese is melted.  Serve right away.

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