It is truly starting to feel like winter. The snow has come and stayed for several days now. Some of my Alberta/Saskatchewan friends might think I’m bragging, but the temperature has been sub 0 since Saturday. This is a rare thing on Vancouver Island and the craving for comfort foods is definitely rearing its ugly head.
My American friends are primarily interested in Thanks Giving and recipes to wow the family, while my thoughts are going to food that is warm, wholesome, nutritious and vegetarian( I just feel like I’ve been eating too much meat this week). Perhaps those of you in the US will give this yummy recipe a try when you’re so sick of turkey you can’t bare another bite. Speaking of Thanks Giving, I am so very thankful to my step mother who turned me on to Barley Risotto and all its merry variations. Thank you Loraine. Since the introduction to this Weight Watcher’s recipe, we make a version of this almost weekly! I have been given many recipes but not many I utilize so frequently. I would love to hear from all of you to find out the creative ingredients you decide to try. Since the barley phenomenon has entered our lives we have modified other risotto recipes by making them with barley. There is my Auntie Julienne’s Lemon Asparagus and Shrimp Risotto, Cafe Paradiso’s Avocado Arugula Risotto, Roasted Squash and Walnut Risotto and the list goes on. Do let me know what you come up with and if you love your version, I love hearing from you!
1 Tbsp Olive oil
2 Lbs mixed mushrooms of your choice cleaned and roughly chopped
3 small leeks whites only thinly sliced
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 -2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
3 garlic cloves minced
3 celery stocks finely chopped
2 cups pot barley
6 cups of vegetable, chicken or beef stock
1-2 Tbsp Balsamic (to taste)
1/2 cup grated parmesan (optional for vegans)
6 – 8 cups Arugula
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, add the oil, leeks, garlic and celery and mushrooms. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.
The contents of the pot will significantly reduce. Add Stock and barley and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 30 minutes or until barley is completely cooked. Add vinegar to taste, add cheese and stir until combined. Finish off with salt and pepper to taste. Right before serving fold in the arugula leaves. They should be just slightly wilted.
Serve this as a fabulous side to any roasted meats, grilled vegetables or makes a comforting meal all on it’s own.