Wild Mushroom Barley Risotto

1 03 2010

Risotto Stirring

We made this Risotto style dish at the cooking class. It was delicious and a nice twist on the classic risotto made with Arborio rice. Of course, the technique is exactly the same so you could always substitute rice for the barley. We found this dish to be quite rich tasting. It would work well as both a main course or as a side dish. The key is a good selection of mushrooms and a flavorful vegetable stock.

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms

2 cups boiling water

1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock

2 tbsp olive oil

2 shallots or 1/2 small onion, minced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 pound fresh wild mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 1/2 cups pearl barley

1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, minced

3/4 tsp fresh rosemary, minced

1/2 cup dry white wine or sake

1 tbsp soy sauce

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 tbsp parsley, minced

2 tbsp butter

Place the dried mushrooms in a bowl and pour on boiling water to cover. Let sit 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Drain the mushrooms by straining through a sieve lined with paper towel. Save the liquid and add to the vegetable stock. Rinse the soaked mushrooms, squeeze dry and chop into bite-sized pieces.

Put the stock in a pot and bring to a simmer. Keep warm over a low heat.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute the shallot and garlic until tender and translucent. Add the chopped dried and fresh mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the mushrooms release most of their liquid. Add in the barley, thyme and rosemary and stir until all the grains are coated with oil and the mushroom liquid. Add the wine and soy sauce and saute, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.

Stir in a couple ladlesful of stock, just enough to cover the grains. Stir constantly until that liquid is mostly absorbed. The temperature should be high enough so that the liquid would be at a low simmer if not stirring. Add another ladleful of the stock and continue to stir. As the liquid gets absorbed, add another ladleful and continue in this fashion until most of the stock has been absorbed and the barley is cooked through but still al dente. You may require more stock or less. When the barley is almost to the desired consistency, about 40 minutes, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan cheese. Add freshly ground pepper and sea salt to taste.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley and extra Parmesan.


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