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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pantry Project: Barley and Mushroom Risotto

The pantry project continues apace! We've had a jar of pearl barley kicking around the shelves for a long time; even though we love barley, we never seemed to get around to using it. Then we saw a recipe from Bon Appetit that used barley in place of rice to make a chewy, rich risotto.

We were skeptical at first—wouldn't the barley get tough? But it nicely absorbed the vegetable stock, and the final addition of sautéed mushrooms made for a satisfying winter dish.

Barley and Mushroom Risotto

4 1/2 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or meat)
2 t. butter
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup pearl barley
2 t. chopped fresh thyme or 3/4 t. dried
1 bay leaf
2 t. olive oil
1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, sliced (we used Chinese shiitakes)
1 minced garlic clove
2 T. chopped Italian parsley (we used curly because Ruth hates Italian parsley)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Bring stock to boil in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.

2. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about five minutes.

3. Add barley, thyme, bay leaf, and two cups of hot stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until most of the stock has been absorbed, stirring frequently (about five minutes).

4. Add remaining stock 1/2 cup at a time, allowing it to be absorbed by the barley before adding more, and stirring frequently (about 45 minutes).

5. While the barley is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet over high heat. Add mushrooms, and sauté until brown. Stir in chopped garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook until mushrooms are tender (about five minutes).

6. When the barley is done, add the mushrooms, mix in parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Serves four.

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