The recipe for this blog is something that I put together using some left over vegetables and chorizo that was lingering at the bottom of the fridge. You can obviously try this recipe without the chorizo, as it is still remarkably tasty with just the vegetables and barley; perhaps just add a teaspoon of pimenton (smoked paprika) towards the end of cooking to provide the addictive smokiness to the dish.
As you may have already noticed, I am a massive fan of pearl barley and it is a pretty cheap ingredient (around 59p a packet in the dried goods area of your supermarket more often than not), which stretches far in soups, stews and here in this risotto where it makes for a more satisfying texture than most types of rice.
You’ll only need a chopping board and two pans for this recipe; one larger frying pan and a medium sized saucepan for boiling the pearl barley (am sure that you can do it all in one pan, boiling the barley with more stock, but I find this method gives more than adequate results given the amount of starchy scum that the barley releases on boiling). The addition of fresh herbs to this recipe wouldn’t hurt at all either, parsley or coriander, perhaps even some fresh tarragon…
What you need:
175g Pearl Barley
1 Large (~15-20cm) sized piece of Spanish Chorizo (finely chopped)
400g cooked Kidney Beans
1 medium to large carrot (finely diced)
2 sticks of celery (finely diced)
2 medium sized red onions (finely diced)
4 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
1 medium sized red chilli
140g of chopped green/fine beans
4 spring onions
15g salted butter
1 tsp light olive, rapeseed or vegetable oil
400ml of vegetable stock (freshly made from simmering vegetable off-cuts or stock cube will suffice – add 2 large bay leaves, 5 black and 5 white peppercorns)
~50g of Gran Padano/Pecorino/Machego or Parmagiano Reggiano cheese
A couple of pinches each of lemon zest and fresh thyme
What to do:
1. Boil the pearl barley for at least 45 minutes in a saucepan, skimming the starch/scum from the top and ensuring the water doesn’t boil off. Once cooked and cooled, drain the remaining water and keep the lid on the saucepan to slightly steam and puff up the barley.
2. Cut the onion, celery and carrot into a fine dice and add to a large frying pan with the oil (the whole dish will be cooked in here, so it will need to be fairly deep too) for a mirepoix/soffrito. Fry until softened and the onion is translucent.
3. Add the chorizo and garlic to the mix and fry to release the fat from the chorizo. After 5-6 minutes on a medium heat, add the garlic, chilli and the butter to the pan. Fry for another 5 minutes or so, turning the mixture in the pan thoroughly.
4. Now add the kidney beans and the chopped green beans to the pan, fry for another 5 minutes or until the beans begin to split open, then add the cooked pearl barley and a little vegetable stock at a time, mixing and turning the contents of the pan continuously. Allow the mixture to absorb the stock before adding more until it is gone, then add the lemon and thyme followed by half the cheese grated in, mixing thoroughly.
5. Remove from the heat and add the spring onions, continuously turning before finishing with the remaining cheese and season to taste.
6. Finish with a little more cheese and perhaps black pepper.
Hopefully this will give you some inspiration to have a look through the cupboards and come up with your own versions of a risotto style dish, as it is a very easy dish to master and perfect for putting together with a variety of leftover ingredients.
Until next time, enjoy!