I originally planned to make risotto with traditional arborio rice today, but then I discovered that I had run out. I decided to use barley instead, and I was pleasantly surprised! Personally, I love barley’s chewy pop. Feel free to swap out your grain of choice.
- 8 oz seasonal mushrooms chopped or shredded
- 3 medium leeks sliced (white & light green parts only)
- 1 Tbsp oil or butter
- 1/4 cup dry pearl barley
Condiments & Seasonings
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 2 cups veggie broth more as needed
- In a small saucepan, heat the vegetable broth and add the barley. Simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, put the sliced mushrooms in a cast iron pan or other type of skillet, dry (with no oil added) and cook for a few minutes on low-medium heat to evaporate most of the moisture in the mushrooms.
- Add the oil or butter to the mushrooms.
- Raise heat to medium-high, and brown the mushrooms, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
- Add the leeks for a few minutes towards the end to soften and brown them a little.
- Add the mushrooms and leeks to the partially cooked barley.
- Add the wine.
- Continue to stir and check on the simmering risotto, cooking until the barley is fully cooked and adding veggie broth as needed. This part takes about 15 -20 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper, and fresh or dried herbs (thyme, chives, oregano)
- Risotto is usually made by adding the liquid and grain to the mushrooms. Because barley takes longer to cook than arborio rice and is less starchy, I think it works better to partially cook the barley for about 30 minutes before adding the veggies and then starting the slow simmering process, so that the veggies don’t get too soggy and soft. This shortcut also cuts down on the time it takes to make this meal.
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