several months ago i went through all my kitchen cupboards, clearing away out of date products and making a note of the many things that were duplicated or needed stocking up on.
one of the items which i had a plentiful supply of was farro and the barley that i bought when i couldn’t find farro itself. this wholegrain is perfect autumnal food and i’ve been enjoying experimenting with this. adding a handful to soups and stews in an easy way to use it and last year i tried using it instead of arborio rice in a sausage risotto.
it was to risotto that i returned most recently intrigued by a recipe from ross dobson which called for the barley to be cooked in a stock flavoured with soy sauce.
austere is definitely the right word to describe the resulting dish – barley and carrots are never going to feel luxurious. however, the addition of plenty of parmesan lifted it and created a comforting meal, albeit one that retained its functional feeling.
i’d like to work on this dish further as i think it has greater potential than it is exhibiting. perhaps using a mix of roasted root vegetables and a scattering of goats cheese? or maybe some slow roasted tomatoes and a piece of lamb on the side? i don’t know yet but if you have any ideas you think i should try, let me know.
ross dobson’s roasted carrots with barley risotto (serves 4)
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 baby carrots, ends trimmed (i used normal carrots cut into batons)
2 tablespoons butter
1 sprigs fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and cut in half
500ml chicken stock (i used vegetable)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon butter
3 heaped tablespoons grated parmesan
salt & pepper
heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. add the carrots and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning every two minutes, until golden. add the butter, thyme and garlic to the pan with 125ml water and season. cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook over a medium heat for15-20 minutes, turning often, until the carrots are tender.
meanwhile, to make the barley risotto, put the stock and soy sauce in a pan with 1 litre of water and bring to the boil. add the barley and cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring often, until the barley is soft but not breaking up. stir in the butter and parmesan and serve with the carrots on top of the risotto.