Friday, 21 October 2011

Eggplant, Mushroom and Pearl Barley Risotto

I honestly think that risotto is pretty ugly. Not really pleasant to photograph since it's kinda brown and gooey...and brown. I used pearl barley because the result is slightly lighter than a risotto that uses arborio rice...or maybe that's just me. And the pearl barley is very filling which can be served a side, main, whatever...

What type of mushroom is up to you, but keep in mind that some of their flavours might be a rather...strange combination. Like shiitake. Button mushies, Swiss brown, Porcini...neh. Sure. The stock can be chicken stock, or vegetable if you're cooking for vegetarians...or, if you're using dry mushrooms, then the clean soaking liquid can be used. I'm not one for stock, because I find their quite fake tasting, full of flavour enhancers and I generally use 500mL of stock and water for the rest.

Please excuse the very brown photos. Not pretty, I know. D<
Oh and look! Home grown green onions, and the chopped store bought. It's so biiig~

Eggplant, Mushroom and Pearl Barley Risotto
Serves 4-6

2 tbsp butter
2 stalks of green onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped/grated
1 small red chilli, thinly sliced or to taste
~150g eggplant, cut into 1 cm cubes (or diamonds :D)
1 tbsp oil
1 italian pork sausage, sliced (optional)
200g pearl barley
2 bay leaves
1/3 cup white wine
1.25L chicken stock/liquid (5 cups)
~200g mushrooms, sliced/diced
Dash of cream, or sour cream
1/4 sharp cheddar, or any sharp cheese
Parmesan, to taste
Parsley, to serve (which I didn't have D:)

Brown the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot (~4L) on a medium/high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium/low and add the green onion, garlic and chilli. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly and add the eggplant and oil. Cook until the eggplant has softened and then add the sausage until cooked through.

After the addition of the wine and 1 cup of stock...

Wash the pearl barley in cold water, a few times (3-4) or until water is clear. Drain thoroughly and add to the eggplant/sausage mix. Fry on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the bay leaves and wine and stir until the alcohol has evaporated and the liquid has been absorbed on a gentle heat. Add one cup of the stock and stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat the process, adding 1/2 cup of stock until the barley is plump and tender (this should take about 50 minutes). However, just before the last 1/2 cup of liquid, add in the mushrooms. After all the liquid has been absorbed, turn off the heat and add the cream and cheese. Remove the bay leaves.

Garnish extra shaved parmesan and parsley and serve hot.

**You can add salt or pepper to taste.

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