Barley Risotto is usually made with pearl barley, which is nutritious to a degree. However, there is a strain of barley that is hull-less and with proper cooking yields a toothsome and very tasty risotto, filled with the nutrients of whole barley. Unless you are up to stirring for at least an hour, I highly recommend our no-stir pressure cooker version. Our wonderful Rare Hare Barn rabbit bratwurst (see previous post) enlivened the earthiness of this soul-satisfying dish. Organic hull-less barley is available from Gold Mine Natural Foods in bulk. It requires a little less cooking time than whole barley, and yields a toothsome mellow taste. I highly recommend soaking it in filtered water over night to begin an important enzyme process. This makes it even more digestible. We all decided this was our favorite risotto!
1/4 C olive oil
2 T butter
1/2 large onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
3/4 C dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed and chopped (do not soak if using pressure cooker)
1 1/2 C hull-less barley, soaked over night and drained
4 C chicken or vegetable stock (hot)
1 C white wine
1 tsp sea salt
In base of pressure cooker place olive oil and butter over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Heat stock in separate container. Add porcini mushrooms and barley along with the white wine, stock, and salt to taste. Bring to high pressure and cook for 1 hour. Prepare mix-ins below. Release pressure and either add liquid if needed, or continue cooking without the lid until liquid is reduced to a risotto consistency. Risotto is not dry, it should be creamy, with the starch from the grain forming a sauce with the remaining liquid. The barley will not get soft, rather it retains a slightly chewy, earthy consistency.
While the barley is cooking prepare the mix-ins in a separate heavy sauté pan.
2 T olive oil
1/2# Rare Hare Barn rabbit brats
1/2 C white wine
4 C tatsoi
2 roasted red or yellow peppers in 1/4 by 1 inch strips
1/3 C minced fresh dill
1 1/2 C high quality grated parmesean
Slice brats in 1/3 inch slices and crosswise into half moons. Heat oil in pan and over medium heat add brat bits and sauté until very lightly browned. Add white wine, tatsoi and pepper strips and cover over medium low heat to wilt the tatsoi. When tatsoi stems are tender, remove from heat and add dill. Note: Any young tender green could be used, baby chard, water cress, lambs quarters, tatsoi, etc. Farm markets are the best source of these greens – we have them year ‘round in Takoma Park. Dump this mixture into the risotto and mix thoroughly, cooking a few additional minutes, adding parmesan cheese at the end. Taste for seasoning. This recipe yields a healthy, earthy, delicious one-dish meal.
Note: Any chicken sausage could be substituted for the rabbit brats – but we really recommend trying these brats or their rabbit sausage for a lean, superb taste.