Wild mushroom and barley risotto

Wild mushroom and barley risotto

This wild mushroom and barley risotto is much lower in carbohydrate and higher in fibre in comparison to a typical rice risotto. The cooking process is the same, adding stock to the barley little by little but as legendary vegetarian food writer Rose Elliot notes, with barley risotto ‘you can be more relaxed about the stirring as the cooking goes’ (Fast, Fresh and Fabulous, p.136). So, not only is barley risotto better for you but there is a greater chance of it turning out well even when you forget to stir it as often as you should.


Wild mushroom and barley risotto
Serves: 4
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • A handful of dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 banana shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery, chopped into 5mm pieces
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 150ml white wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • A few sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 250g wild mushrooms, mixed such as shiitake, oyster and enoki
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 25g hazelnuts, chopped
  • 25g ground almonds
  • 10g nutritional yeast flakes
  • Small bunch tarragon
  • Seasoning to taste
  1. Heat the vegetable stock in a pan and throw in the dried mushrooms. Bring to the boil and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a heavy based pan or casserole dish. Add the shallots and celery and fry on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the pearl barley and thyme leaves and mix well so they are coated with the oil. Pour over the wine, stir and then let it bubble for a minute or two.
  3. Pass the vegetable stock through a sieve setting aside the dried mushrooms and, keeping the heat low stir in a ladle of the stock to the risotto. Stir regularly and when the stock has been absorbed add another ladle full. This idea is to continue this process of gradually adding liquid and stirring until absorbed until you have used up all the stock. This will take around 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 220C. Roughly chop the hazelnuts and arrange on a baking sheet. Place in the hot oven to roast for around 4 minutes taking them out every minute or two to give them a bit of shake. They burn incredibly easily so keep an eye on them.
  5. Mix together the ground almonds, nutritional yeast and a few grinds of sea salt. Zest the lemon and roughly chop the tarragon.
  6. Wiping off any grit, chop the now reconstituted porcini mushrooms.
  7. Wipe the wild mushrooms with some damp kitchen roll or a clean cloth to get rid of any grit.
  8. When the barley is cooked - it will be soft but still a little chewy – stir in the chopped reconstituted mushrooms, the lemon zest, the ground almond mix, and a couple of handfuls of the chopped tarragon. Add seasoning to taste and then pop on the lid to keep hot adding a splash of hot water if it starts to look dry.
  9. In a wide frying pan - you don’t want the mushrooms to be cramped - heat a tsp or so of olive oil and add the mushrooms. Keep on a medium heat for around 8 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent sticking. When the mushrooms release their juices and shrink a little whip them off the heat.
  10. To serve, pile up the risotto on each plate, arrange the mushrooms on top and scatter over a little more tarragon along with a handful of the roasted hazelnuts. Good accompanied with wild rocket.


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