Since the hurricane, we've been having monthly potlucks. We invite other neighbors from time to time to join in the culinary fun, and sometimes there's a theme. This last time, my husband invited a coworker who used to be a chef, and he made this amazing barley risotto. I had dreams about it all week and then decided I needed to go and just make it myself! I've never made risotto before but I've watched enough cooking shows to get the gist of the process. The result was an incredibly earthy, healthy risotto with a wonderful flavor. I decided to use pot barley, which is barley with the hull removed, but not polished to the point of being stripped of all it's nutrients, as in pearl barley. If you can't find it, just use pearl barley and cook a little less.I added the vegetables I felt like eating, but you can add whatever veggies you like to this. This is seriously going to be my go-to dish when the weather is cold and I want some comfort food. Hopefully it'll become yours too!
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients3-4 cups mushroom stock (I use Pacific Natural Foods brand), or veggie stock1 1/2 tbsp olive oil 2 leeks- white and light green parts only, chopped (or 1/2 large onion, diced)1 clove garlic, minced3 sprigs rosemary, chopped1/2 tsp thyme1 cup barley (pot, scotch, or pearl), rinsed1/4 lb cremini mushrooms, sliced1 portabello cap, diced1/4 lb asparagus, roughly chopped
In a saute pan, add about 1/2 tsp olive oil and saute the mushrooms and asparagus for about 5 minutes until the veggies have cooked but still have a little bite to them. Set aside. Heat the stock over medium heat until boiling, then lower the flame and allow to simmer.Heat the olive oil in a medium pot, and when hot, add the leeks, garlic, rosemary, and thyme, and saute until the leeks have softened, about 4-5 min. Add the barley and saute until it is evenly coated with the oil. Add the heated stock, about 1/2 cup at a time to the barley, stirring after each addition. Add the next 1/2 cup stock only when the liquid already in the pot has just about evaporated, but not completely dried out. About half way through using up the stock, taste the barley to check it's texture. It will most likely not be ready at this point, but you'll get an idea of how much more stock and time you will need. Keep adding stock until the risotto is al dente- a little soft but with a bite. I used about 3 3/4 cups of the stock, but depending on your barley, you may need more or less. Gently toss the veggies into the risotto, and garnish with some more herbs if you like, and some fresh ground black pepper. You will probably NOT need any salt since the stock will have provided some. If you need to season it some more, feel free. Serve yourself a piping hot bowl and enjoy!