Mushroom & Courgette Barley Risotto

Ok, there are going to be some random recipes coming up over the next few weeks! I've got lots of random grains and store cupboard items that need to be used and although I love recipe testing, this amount of isolation might take it to a whole other level!

I came across this idea from the goddess herself, Nigella Lawson. I know she has done a risotto recipe with barley and so I thought I'd create one too.

I will also admit that this is not by ANY means a traditional recipe. I mean, I've done a lot of 'globe trotting' around my pantry using things like teriyaki sauce and sweet chilli (definitely not an Italian staple!) but it gives it that depth that I struggle to find - plus I don't have any dried porcini mushrooms which would probably work perfectly here. Hey, I'm in quarantine.... porcini mushrooms are not at the top of my shopping list! ha ha!

Barley is super chewy and has more texture than risotto. I'm not usually a fan of normal rice risotto as I find it a bit 'sloppy' and kind of like mush, so this one works perfectly.

  • 1 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1 tsp chilli oil
  • handful of chestnut mushrooms quartered
  • 2 courgettes sliced in oval discs
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 onion finely chopped (I tend to use frozen, chopped onion for ease)
  • 750ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce 
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 tbsp truffle oil
  • grated parmesan to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley and dried chilli flakes to garnish
  • In a shallow cast iron fry pan (with a lid), add a little garlic oil and then add the courgette slices. Cook for a few minutes until golden on one side and then flip them over and cook on the other side.
  • Once they are cooked, put them on a plate to one side and then add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden. Then add to one side with the courgettes.
  • Add the garlic and chilli oil to the pan and before you put on the heat add the minced garlic.
  • Turn on the heat and then add the onions when the oil begins to warm. You don't want to burn the garlic or onions, just allow them to warm and soften. Add a pinch of salt to stop them burning. Once they are translucent, add the mushrooms back to the pan and cook for another minute or so.
  • In a separate pan, add the stock, oyster sauce, sweet chilli, teriyaki sauce and mixed herbs. Bring to the boil.
  • To the cast iron pan, add the barley and fry for another minute or so to absorb some of the oil from the pan and then add the hot stock.
  • Stir it altogether, clamp on a lid and cook for around 30 minutes until the barley has softened. Stir it every 5 mins once the water starts to absorb to stop it from sticking to the bottom and once the barley is cooked, add the peas and courgettes and stir well. If the barley is still hard and has absorbed the water, just add a splash of hot water at a time until it's tender.
  • When the peas are cooked, take the pan off the heat and stir through a drizzle of truffle oil, a good grating of parmesan and sprinkle with some chopped parsley and dried chilli flakes.
I like to serve this with some greens such as wilted spinach, but you serve with whatever your heart desires!

I hope you enjoy making this like I did. This is proper comfort food!

Hope you're all staying safe!

Lotsa love,

Em x


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