I know I’ve been pretty vocal about my love for barley around here. I love that it’s local, high in fibre, dense and nutty and chewy, and great for simmering with dry lentils for a hefty salad. I love that you can buy it in flour form to make pancakes and chocolate chip cookies and chocolate cake.
And I love that so many farmers grow it around here. So when Alberta Barley asked if I would help spread the news of their very first cookbook, Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain, I was more than happy to. It comes out next month, but I have an advance copy to give away – remember when we did Free Stuff Fridays? I miss that. So even though it’s Tuesday, let’s get back on that horse. Some of you know the drill – leave a comment below, and I’ll try to remember to make a (random!) draw at the end of the week.
(Two great Canadian food bloggers, Amy of Family Feedbag and Renee Lavalee of Feisty Chef are playing along too – Amy already posted a fab Mushroom Barley Soup, and I think Renee is posting something barley-ish this week.)
This barley risotto is far more nutrient-dense (and fibre-rich) than that made with the traditional short-grain rice, and as a happy bonus, it requires only one bout of vigorous stirring, halfway through the cooking time. No need to stand by the stove, afraid to stray from the pot. Shrimp and peas and a good squeeze of lemon make a perfectly springy risotto – we can pretend, can’t we?
Barley Risotto with Shrimp and Peas
Excerpted (and slightly adapted) from Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain by Pat Inglis and Linda Whitworth
1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon zest
1?4 tsp (1 mL) pepper
1 cup (250 mL) pot or pearl barley
4 cups (1 L) low sodium chicken stock
12 oz (350 g) peeled and deveined raw shrimp
1 cup (250 mL) fresh or frozen peas
2 Tbsp (30 mL) chopped fresh parsley or sprigs of fresh mint
Heat the oil in a large saucepan set over medium-high heat; add the onion, garlic, lemon zest, and pepper, and saute until the onion is softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in barley and stock and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat; cover pan and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring vigorously halfway through for 15 seconds. Stir in shrimp and peas; cover pan and simmer until shrimp are pink and peas are tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley or mint and serve.