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  Mushroom Barley Risotto

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Mushrooms and barley are the perfect match for a hearty, quick weeknight dinner. To really bring out the mushroom flavor, consider making a small investment in a package of dried mushrooms – and since you only use a few at a time, they’re a nice pantry staple. Just a few soaked in hot water, or added to the broth in this risotto, add a great depth of flavor.

If you’d like to top the risotto with leftover beef, use beef broth/stock. If you’d like t add shrimp or chicken, use chicken broth/stock.

2 cups chicken stock*

5-6 dried mushrooms (optional)

1-2 tsp. olive oil

6-8 oz. of mushrooms, sliced

Salt and pepper

1 cup quick-cooking barley

1 bunch of green onions, best parts sliced

1 tbs. butter

Grated Parmesan to taste and thicken


Heat stock/broth to a simmer and add the dried mushrooms if you’re using them (this will reconstitute the mushrooms and steep their flavor into the stock).  Meanwhile, sauté the sliced mushrooms in the olive oil until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Then add the barley and toss to coat and toast. 

Gradually add the warmed stock to the risotto stirring and simmering until absorbed, then adding more.  When you’re just about done with stock, remove the dried mushrooms, slice and add to the risotto along with the green onions.

To finish, stir in the butter and Parmesan to taste – the goal is to add creaminess, thicken the risotto and add flavor.

 Serves 4.

*You can use beef, mushroom or vegetable stock instead. Low sodium varieties work best.

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