Friday, October 26, 2007

Creamy Vegetable Barley Risotto

Barley is one of those grains that we don't use enough in our diets. It's either rolled out flat and made as oatmeal, used in stews or is baked into cakes and breads. It's high starch content makes it a perfect candidate for risotto. It will keep its shape, have a slight resistance but will also have the creamy consistency that arborio rice would typically impart. Using a pressure cooker makes this dish a snap to make - without the stirring!

For this recipe, you will need:
  • 1.5 liters of stock (vegetable or chicken works)
  • 375 ml of white wine - something nice enough to drink - or else it won't impart a good flavor - maybe a nice Burgandy.
  • 1 3/4 cup of pearled barley (it's more refined than pot barley - use pot barley for stews)
  • 15 ml olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 cup diced sweet potato
  • 1 cup diced kabocha squash (or 2 cups squash if you don't have sweet potato, or 2 cups sweet potatoes if you don't have squash)
  • 2 cups white button mushrooms, sliced.
  • 5 ml dried sage
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 125 ml freshly grated Parmesan (please, none of that powdered stuff.... blerch)
In your pressure cooker, heat your olive oil on medium heat. Add in your garlic and quickly stir around the pot. Add in your potatoes and squash and stir to cover with oil. Add in your barley, broccoli, mushrooms, sage and liquids. Snap on your lid, put the pressure on and bring to boil. Then simmer at the right temperature to keep your rocker on a good rhythm for 12 minutes. Let the mix cool down. When it's safe to open the pressure cooker, add in your Parmesan cheese and stir. Serve immediately. It will serve 4 as a main dish or 8 as a side.

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