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I served this dish at a Girl’s Dinner a few nights ago – it’s great to make if you’re feeding a crowd. Risotto usually has Parmesan in it, but you really don’t need it here as it’s definitely not lacking in flavour! The Sundried Tomatoes add a great taste, but you can also leave them out if you prefer. I decided to make this with Barley because I thought the firm chewiness of this wheat-free grain would work well (and it did), but if you don’t have any on hand then it can be substituted with traditional Arborio Rice, or even Short Grain Brown Rice. Switch it up by changing the veg according to your taste…This is not a difficult meal to make, but it does require a good 45 minutes stooped over the stove, so be prepared!

Ingredients: {adapted from Vegie Food (Chunky Food)}

7-8 cups Vegetable Stock

1 cup White Wine

Olive Oil

1/2 Onion, diced

2 cloves Garlic, minced

2 cups chopped Mushrooms (I used Brown, but you can mix and match with any you like)

2 cups Barley

2 tsp. dried Thyme

4-5 Sundried Tomatoes, chopped into small pieces (if dry, rehydrate before use)

2 cups fresh Baby Spinach

 

Method:

– Place the Stock in a large saucepan and bring to boil, then reduce heat and keep at a low simmer.

– Heat Oil in a large saucepan/frying pan, adding Onion and cook for a few minutes until soft and golden. Add Mushrooms, Garlic & Thyme, and saute a few minutes until Mushrooms begin to shrink in size and release water. Slowly add 1/3 cup White Wine, and cook until dissolved. Repeat with another 1/3 cup until dissolved again and Mushrooms are cooked but still firm. Remove half the Mushroom mixture and set aside to add later.

– Stir in the Barley, adding a litte more oil if neccessary, and cook 1-2 mins. with the Mushroom mixture in the pan. Slowly add the left over 1/3 cup White Wine & Sundried Tomatoes, and stir over medium heat until absorbed. Continue adding the stock a little at a time (about 1/2 cup), with a ladle, stirring constantly until absorbed and the Barley is cooked through and creamy. This will take about 40 minutes.

– Roughly shred the Spinach with your hands, and mix into the Risotto with the rest of the Mushroom mixture you set aside before. Cover with a lid and leave for a few minutes for the Spinach to wilt (with heat off).

– Garnish with fresh Parsley if you like.

*About 4 large servings…

 

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