I’ve had a bag of barley sitting in the pantry for ages–discount grocery!–and this week I was just itching to do something with it. Granted, I’ve never actually had barley. It sounds so hearty and nourishing, though: a bowl of warm chewy something to give comfort on these cold Mississippi nights. The finished dish exceeded expectations, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to call it “the oatmeal of dinner.” (Good oatmeal, of course–steel-cut oats, stovetop, the works.)
I didn’t follow a recipe, per se, but I took this as a guideline. I wanted to make this recipe, but I didn’t soak any beans last night and I’m trying to wean myself off the canned stuff. Basic risotto procedure…boring. I used 2:1 ratio of water to broth because I find full-broth risottos a little overpowering, and I simmered some dried herbs in the liquid. The process did take much longer than expected, close to an hour; I’ll blame the weird discount barley, because I can. I grated some pecorino in at the end, and the flavors and textures played very nicely together.
I needed to use up some particular produce, so I roasted broccoli and carrots and folded them into the finished barley. I have to admit, the broccoli wasn’t as tasty as I’d hoped. I think I’m just not a fan of roasted broccoli. I should have steamed it on the side and roasted the sweet potato I found languishing in my roots-and-tubers bowl. I have another bag of barley in the stash, so I’ll just say, “next time…”