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Thursday 7 April 2011

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Beetroot Barley Risotto

Who doesn't love risotto? Well, we at Domestic Sluttery certainly do. But now it's spring, it feels like something a bit lighter wouldn't go amiss, and that's where pearl barley comes in. It's not as creamy as a rice risotto, and using barley gives a nice nutty flavour.

And no, those aren't tiny weeny fried eggs on top, before you ask. They're actually chunks of mozzarella!

When I tried this recipe I did find the odd rogue hard grain, so I'd recommend making sure your barley is covered by the liquid when you start. If it isn't, add a bit more stock or water. If you have a saucepan that goes in the oven, use that, otherwise I'm afraid it's more washing up for you as you need to start this dish on the hob and migrate it to the oven. On the plus side, it does mean you can put your feet up and forget about it for 45 minutes rather than sweating and stirring over the pan.

You can buy the beetroot pre-cooked, or buy fresh and bake them in the oven (wrapped in foil) for around 30 minutes at 180c. They're much easier to peel after cooking, although you might end up with pink hands, so if that's not your style, consider marigolds.

Beetroot Barley Risotto (serves 2)

You'll need:
  • A small handful of dried mushrooms (about 5g)
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 100g pearl barley, rinsed well
  • 50ml balsamic vinegar
  • 1 large or a few small cooked, peeled and chopped beetroot (I used 400g)
  • 200ml vegetable stock
  • 125g mozzarella
  • Some chopped dill to serve (optional)
Make it!
  • Pour some boiling water over the dried mushrooms and leave them for 20 minutes to soak.
  • Preheat the oven to 200c / gas 6.
  • Heat the butter in a large saucepan until it foams, then add the onion and fry until it's soft but not coloured.
  • Add the barley to the pan and stir through.
  • Add the balsamic vinegar and let it sizzle away until the pan is almost dry and the barley is just coated.
  • Add the beetroot pieces, mushrooms and vegetable stock. Let the stock come to a simmer, then transfer the risotto to the oven.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, then tear up the mozzarella and sprinkle over the top. Bake for 15 more minutes, until the mozzarella is melted and golden, and the stock has been absorbed.

1 comment:

  1. I made this for supper last night and it's gorgeous! I didn't have dried mushrooms, so I just used fresh ones and fried them with the onion until they were nicely browned. And because I'm trying to be a bit health-conscious, I skipped the mozzarella and instead served it with a dollop of fat-free Greek yogurt and some chopped dill. It was lovely!


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