Anyway, earlier in the week my daughter asked if we could center a meal on barley. Surprised as I was I quickly agreed and, given my love for risotto of all kinds and for tweaking it with grains and seeds other than arborio rice I thought I'd give this a go. The main procedural difference between barley and traditional risotto is that since it's more robust it needs a spell up front being simmered with the cover on. Then you can uncover it and add stock 1-2 cups at a time as with regular risotto.
- 2 cups pearled barley
- 1 1/2 quarts stock (I used mushroom stock mostly plus some chicken I had in the fridge)
- 1/4-1/2 cup white cooking wine
- 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
- olive oil, salt and pepper
- 8 oz goat cheese (I crumbled 4 oz of plain and held a log of honey chevre as you'll see below)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-3 shallots, sliced finely
- 1/4 red onion, diced
- Saute the mushrooms over medium high heat until you've fully cooked the liquid out of them and they brown nicely. Set aside.
- In a 4-6 quart sauce pan or stock pot heat some more olive oil over medium heat. Saute the garlic, shallots and onions until nicely browned, 8-10 minutes. Add the barley and saute for another 4-5 minutes to begin browning it. Add the wine and 3 cups of stock, stir well, reduce heat to low-medium and cover for 10-15 minutes.
- Uncover, add another cup to 1 1/2 cups of stock and stir periodically, adding more stock as it's absorbed. I ended up cooking it for 30-35 minutes.
- Once it's still al dente but tender enough to eat, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.
- Fold in the mushrooms and then, at the end, the goat cheese crumbles. Top each serving with a couple of medallions of honey chevre--the sweet really compliments the savory and tangy of the dish nicely.