Some of you will know that I am not a huge mushroom fan, but I don't mind the dried mushrooms - the ones you have to reconstitute in water. Somehow the flavour is much more intense than the fresh stuff. Another reason I wanted to make this dish was that I didn't have much in the way of fresh ingredients at home, so its good to have some store-cupboard standbys.
Anyway, when I went to get out my packet of risotto rice, it dawned on me that I had used it a couple of weeks back for Smoked Paprika Risotto. I have both brown and white rice in jars too but just had my mind set on risotto. Whilst searching the cupboard, my hands fell upon half a bag of pearl barley reaching its sell by date.
I recalled that many foodies were now using pearl barley as a change from risotto rice. With that in mind that is what I decided to do. It took a little longer to cook, but the result was quite a pleasant. Even D said it made a nice change from rice. The pearl barley had toothsome bite, and the mushrooms had texture and woodsy flavour. I will definitely be making it again.
I am sharing this recipe with Tasty Tuesdays hosted by Vicki at Honest Mum; and Recipe of the Week hosted by A Mummy Too.
Pearl Barley Risotto
Serves 3 - 4 as part of a two or three course meal
50g oyster, porcini and shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated in 300ml vegetable stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g - 300g pearl barley
2 1/2 pints vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh parsley, minced
In a wide pan, heat the oil. Stir in the onion and sauté for 10 minutes or until soft. Stir in the garlic until soft, then stir in the pearl barley and cook for a minute or so.
Gradually start adding the vegetable stock, ladle at a time until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next, when half of the vegetable stock is used, stir in the reconstituted mushrooms and its liquid, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed. Taste and tweak seasoning to taste. Continue stirring in the rest of the liquid until it is all absorbed and the pearl barley is cooked. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the minced parsley.