Barley risotto with mushrooms, bacon crumbs and roasted tomato

February 24, 2013 in grains and pulses

My latest foodie obsession has to be barley, I just love the flavour and texture it brings to a dish. This humble grain is so nutritious and has a myriad of health benefits ( read up on it in an interesting article from Oprah magazine ). The only time I ever used barley was when I made a big pot of soup, although lately, I’ve been incorporating it into salads and even risotto! I find that by adding grains such as barley to my meals, it increases satiety and I find that I won’t be hungry for hours afterwards – which is a good thing when cooking or shooting tempting stuff all day!

So after feeling confident with barley as a base in salads, I became curious how it would turn out in a risotto. I must say, we really enjoyed it. The texture is different – you have to chew a bit more than you would with arborio rice. It does take on flavours well but does have that distinct, but pleasant barley taste. I find that I only need to have one helping of barley risotto and I am satisfied whereas I’d come back for more and more if it was an ordinary risotto. Oh, a big difference is that it does take up to 45 minutes to cook apposed to 20 minutes, but it is worth it :-)

My first barley risotto attempt went pretty well, I decided to do mine with mushrooms, crispy bacon crumbs and roasted tomatoes. Man, it was delish! And it tastes even better the next day! Whoop!

To give the risotto a “bacony” flavour, saute half of the packet(chopped) with the onion and mushroom mixture,
Make it meatless and leave the out the bacon.

Barley risotto with mushrooms, bacon crumbs and roasted tomatoes
Serves 4

50 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig of rosemary or thyme, chopped
250 g diced mushrooms of your choice
1 c dry white wine
1 1/2 c pearl barley
+ – 1. 2 L boiling hot veg or chicken stock
1 c grated parmesan cheese
250 g shoulder bacon
+- 250 g mini Italian tomatoes
olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat the butter until bubbling. Add the onions, garlic and herbs and saute until soft and fragrant, then add the mushrooms and saute until they are softened also.

Add the wine and simmer uncovered until reduced, then add the barley and stir until all the grains are covered in the buttery onion mixture, then add the stock 1 cup at a time and cook gently for +- 45 minutes, adding stock all the while. Most of the liquid will cook away and you’ll be left with a “risotto” consistency (you may need to cover with a lid to allow barley to cook evenly).

Stir in 3/4 of the parmesan cheese and serve topped with crispy bacon crumbs, roasted tomatoes and left over parmesan.

Bacon crumbs:
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius.
Place slices of bacon into a greased baking tray and pop into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until super crispy on both sides (turning half way through). Remove from tray and allow to cool. Use a sharp chopping knife to chop the bacon into small or big crumbs/bits. For a finer crumb, pulse in a food processor.

Roasted tomatoes:
Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius.
Place tomatoes onto a baking tray, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for + -15 minutes until bursting and blistered.

What dishes have you done with barley? Do share, I can’t get enough of the stuff!

8 responses to Barley risotto with mushrooms, bacon crumbs and roasted tomato

  1. I also love barley, but I prefer mine mixed with hops and water :-) The risotto looks lovely.

  2. You have no idea how I love barley, whet and the lesser known grains, they just have so much more texture than ordinary risotto rice. I am hungry now!

  3. Thanks for the recipe. Love the bacon “crumbs”. My mind is flooding with other ideas too now. :-)

  4. I love barley too! I cook up a pot every other Sunday and keep in fridge then it is easy just to add to my soups, salads, risotto and it goes with any meal basically in place of rice/pasta. I think you get barley flour but I haven’t tried it… I made chicken and mushroom with aubergine last night going to try it with bacon and young spinach tonight, yay! Thanks for great post and ideas! Have a good week :)

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