I always thought of Barley as pig food. Something that I would feed to my pigs if I had a barn.
That's probably because all my Barley references come from movies. Whenever someone is eating Barley in a movie, it's always the 'crazy vegetarian'. Which made me think that it was gross and tasteless. What's good about boiled Barley, anyway? Nothing.
A few days ago, I decided to pick up a box of Pearled Barley from the grocery store, to experiment a little with it. I didn't want to put the word 'salad' next to Barley. That would only reinforce the 'crazy vegetarian' image in my mind. So, no Barley Salad for me, please.
Since Risotto is one of my favorite dishes, and there are thousands of Barley Risotto recipes on the internet, I settled on that.
This recipe is creamy and very flavorful, exactly what I was craving. A combination of a few recipes. Barley does have a bit of a bite to it, more so that cooked rice.
- 1 cup Pearled Barley
- 4 cups of Vegetable Stock
- 2-3 handfuls of Spinach
- 2 ounces of Goat Cheese
- 1/3 cup chopped Onion
- 2 cloves of Garlic, cut in half
- 1 tsp dried Parsley
- Salt & Pepper
-In a large pot, put the barley, 2 cups of stock, salt, pepper, onion, garlic and parsley. Cook over medium heat until the stock has almost evaporated.
-Reduce heat, add another cup of stock and stir. Stir every 5 minutes or so. Keep adding more stock until the barley is as creamy as you want it. You don't need to use the entire 4 cups of stock.
-When there is about 1/4 cup of creamy liquid left, turn off the stove, add the spinach and cheese and stir until well incorporated. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Serve.