Mushroom and Barley Risotto

Last night I found myself at a loss. It was a Monday night at home, and I didn’t have any blogging backlog to try to catch up on. I didn’t have any recipes I wanted to look up. I didn’t have anything new to review. It’s nice to have the free time again, but it felt strange to not have something food-related that I wanted to try to tackle.

Now it’s 4 days into the new year, and I finally made my first new recipe. Tonight I made Mushroom and Barley Risotto from Cooking Light for dinner. I cut this recipe in half, so that I could eat half tonight and have another half for lunch later this week.

This was a simple recipe, although barley takes a while to cook. Although it’s called a “risotto,” there was no stirring involved, like with a real risotto. First, you cover porcini mushrooms (which I had leftover from an earlier recipe) with boiling water and soak for 20 minutes. You saute onion, add cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, and add the soaked porcini mushrooms (minus liquid) and garlic. Add barley, then deglaze with a little brandy. Add the soaking liquid, water, and a little chicken broth (although you could easily use vegetable broth), bring to a boil, and simmer covered for 55 minutes. Mine was actually done after 40. Garnish with parsley (and cheese, if you like it).

Mushroom and Barley Risotto

This was okay. The barley was nice and chewy, like barley should be. Overall it was nothing particularly special. Although this was suggested as a meatless meal, I honestly wouldn’t want to eat it without something else accompanying it (like the cubed steak I had for dinner with it tonight). The half recipe yielded a lot of food, though – my lunch leftovers will be very filling.

I wish my first recipe of the new year had been something a little more exciting, but at least it was healthy. You can make this recipe if you’d like, but I think it needs something else to make it a little more exciting.

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