Mushroom Barley Risotto

by Heidi @ Food Doodles on August 5, 2011

So, add risotto to the ever-growing list of foods that I love.  My only complaint is that I don’t like using rice that’s had its bran and germ removed, which technically speaking is the most nutritious part.  Did you know that over half the nutrition in a whole grain of rice is in the tiny germ and bran?  Unfortunately, brown rice doesn’t get creamy and thick as white risotto rice does.

Ever since seeing that cooking barley in a risotto results in a similarly creamy dish, I had to try it and I’m so glad I did.  Barley is actually much higher in fiber than brown rice and is higher in some nutrients such as selenium which can be difficult to get enough of from plant-based sources.

In this case, find pot barley or scotch barley.  Pot barley is the least processed, while pearled barley has its bran removed.  Pearled barley cooks much faster but nutritionally is very similar to rice so it’s worth it to find unprocessed barley with the bran still intact as a lot of the nutrition is contained in the bran.

By the way, need a vegan version? Try this Vegan Mushroom Risotto!

In this case, find pot barley or scotch barley.  Pot barley is the least processed, while pearled barley has its bran removed.  Pearled barley cooks much faster but nutritionally is very similar to rice so it’s worth it to find unprocessed barley with the bran still intact as a lot of the nutrition is contained in the bran.

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Mushroom Barley Risotto

  • 3-4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2-3/4 lb  your favorite kind, or an assortment of fresh mushrooms
  • 1 C pot or scotch barley
  • 3 1/2-4 C water or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 C fresh parsley
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt or more to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a small pot heat the stock or water till boiling, then turn off the heat and set aside until ready to use.

In a large pan over medium heat melt half the butter and once hot saute the onion until softened.  Add the garlic and stir while cooking for just a couple of minutes before adding the barley.  Add the fresh thyme, and let the barley toast for a couple minutes while stirring everything together, then add 1 C of hot water or stock.  Stir and bring to a boil adjusting the heat of the stove as needed to maintain a steady simmer.

Once the liquid has been absorbed add a half cup more liquid and stir.  Cook until the liquid has been absorbed again, stirring frequently, before adding more.  Repeat until all the water or stock is gone or until the barley is tender and creamy.  This should take 45-50 minutes.

Near the end of cooking the barley, take a small pan and melt the remaining butter over medium heat.  Once the pan is hot add the mushrooms and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and saute until soft.  Set aside.

Once done cooking, remove from the heat and stir in the cooked mushrooms and any remaining liquid in the mushroom pan, the chopped fresh parsley and the grated Parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with more Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

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Have a great weekend!

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 sunshine August 12, 2011 at 13:54

Thanks for recipe!~ Ive been wanting to try risotto,

http://www.cancerinthecity.com

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2 Martyna @ Wholesome Cook August 11, 2011 at 17:32

Hey, just like Gosia, I’m familiar with barley from Polish cooking, and I have noticed it’s become a popular way to serve it up as a risotto recently. Love mushrooms – they would definitely be on my “last supper” list, so this dish sounds perfect!

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3 Barefeet In The Kitchen August 9, 2011 at 15:31

This picture is making me so hungry! It sounds delicious.

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4 Gosia August 9, 2011 at 07:58

This is such a fantastic recipe, mouth-watering just looking at the pictures. Barley is very popular in Polish cuisine, but the Italian twist you give it is incredible. Gotta test it soon. Glad to know that you finally have real summer. Hugs. Gosia

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5 kankana August 8, 2011 at 15:14

Such a simple and comforting hearty dish. Beautiful exposure on the photos.

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6 Malli August 8, 2011 at 14:24

I love mushroom risotto and have been staying away from it since I am avoiding white rice too…but this looks so creamy and smooth it is now a ‘must-try’ for me. Pot barley and your recipe rock!!

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7 Curt August 8, 2011 at 12:05

I love barley. I’ll bet that’s delicious with the onion and garlic.

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8 Ari@ThE DiVa DiSh August 8, 2011 at 11:58

Ok..funny story I JUST bought barley yesterday intending on making risotto 🙂 ANNDD i was thinking of mushroom risotto ! You always read my mind! Can’t wait to try this!

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9 Amy @ Gastronome Tart August 8, 2011 at 11:44

I love mushroom risotto! I love the fact that you used barley. What a great idea!

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10 Amy-Nutrition by Nature August 8, 2011 at 09:56

I have not tried that, yet. It looks delicious and I will have to grab some the next time we are at the store. Stay cool, it’s pretty darn hot out…ugh.

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11 Regan @ The Professional Palate August 8, 2011 at 03:44

I’ve never tried a barely risotto. Love the idea!

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12 Charis August 8, 2011 at 03:09

Gorgeous hungry-making picture!!

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13 Paula @ Spoons 'n' Spades August 7, 2011 at 23:53

Mmm, I adore mushrooms and this risotto looks wonderful! I’ve never tried making it with barley before, will have to give it a go.

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14 Mary @ Delightful Bitefuls August 7, 2011 at 18:31

Ohhhhhh yum! This sounds and looks divine! Bookmarked!

Great blog; happy I found you!

Mary xo
Delightful Bitefuls

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15 Hannah August 7, 2011 at 14:50

I just made a barley risotto from Dreena Burton’s upcoming cookbook, and absolutely loved it! Thrilled to get your variation now, since I’m a mushroom fiend. Definitely making this as soon as we get a relatively cool evening to turn on the stove. 🙂

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16 Jenna @ Shove It In Your Face August 7, 2011 at 14:34

I love barley and am always looking for ways to use it, this looks divine!

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17 Jackie August 7, 2011 at 13:35

I LOVE mushroom risotto and I’ve never seen it made with barley. Great idea! Beautiful pics =)

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18 Clarkie @ Beloved Green August 7, 2011 at 10:41

I did know that most of the nutrition in a whole grain of rice is in the germ and bran, and I like how you used barley to counteract some of this. Very nice dish!

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19 Sonia The Healthy Foodie August 7, 2011 at 09:34

Oh, and I forgot… BRILLIANT photos, Heidi! Love ’em! Awesome job on that shoot, girl!

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20 Sonia The Healthy Foodie August 7, 2011 at 09:33

I love barley risotto! Your recipe looks so good, so creamy! I wish I could get such good results, but unfortunately, when you cut down butter and cheese, well, you don’t get as creamy a risotto. Still, I much prefer the barley to the original version, and you’ve just inspired me to have some. I only wish it wasn’t a million degrees out…

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21 Bobbie @bobbie baking blog August 7, 2011 at 07:49

Looks delicious; barely and mushrooms are a perfect flavor combination!
Hey Heidi, would love for you to visit a new page of mine http://on.fb.me/qhP2Bg

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22 Renata August 7, 2011 at 03:14

I love risotto, but can you believe I have never made it myself? Yours looks absolutely gorgeous, inspiring and healthy!
Thanks for visiting my blog 🙂

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23 Kate@FudgyGoodness August 7, 2011 at 01:22

I’ve never even heard of barley risotto (where have I been?) but this look delish! Thanks for the inspiration!

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24 Deborah August 6, 2011 at 22:08

I’ve always wanted to try risotto with barley, and this looks fantastic!!

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25 Soo @ Little Miss Fitness August 6, 2011 at 16:13

Even though it’s 90+degrees out right now, I want to heat up my kitchen with this recipe! 🙂 Looks delicious!!

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26 Christina @ Sweet Pea's Kitchen August 6, 2011 at 10:16

Mmmm…this risotto looks great! I have never tried scotch barley before, I will have to keep a look out for it! 🙂

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27 Peggy August 6, 2011 at 09:27

Mushrooms – check! Barley – check! Looks like I’ll be making some barley risotto this weekend =)

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28 Anna August 6, 2011 at 09:17

This looks incredible. A “healthy” risotto? Sign me up!

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29 Maris (In Good Taste) August 6, 2011 at 07:12

This looks so creamy and delicious. Perfect for hot summer days.

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30 sally August 6, 2011 at 06:19

I’ve often thought about replacing the white rice in risotto with a different grain, but never thought of barley. Your dish looks so creamy and yummy. It is definitely on my list to try.

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31 Nami | Just One Cookbook August 6, 2011 at 02:07

My grandma loves barley and she used to eat instead of regular rice for keeping good health. I didn’t like the taste of barley while growing up, but now I’m very curious to taste this barley risotto. I love mushroom risotto and this must be good! Have a great weekend – I was working on 7 links you passed on to me. It’s harder than I thought to pick! 🙂

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32 Angie@Angiesrecipes August 6, 2011 at 01:15

Like Marsha, and Twins, I have never had barley risotto either. Looks very tasty!

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33 Marsha @ The Harried Cook August 5, 2011 at 19:33

I have never had barley risotto, but it looks and sounds really good! Bookmarking this… sometimes it’s really hard to find regular risotto rice, like arborio, where I live… This sounds like the solution to my problem! Thanks for sharing, Heidi 🙂

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34 Pure2raw Twins August 5, 2011 at 17:32

Never had barley risotto it looks good! It is sad these days the most of the nutrition of foods are taking away like the germ and bran!

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