Have you ever cooked with barley? As I mention in my book, Instant Bargains, 600+ Ways to Shrink Your Grocery Bills and Eat Well for Less, barley is a frugal whole-grain that can be a good substitute for rice or pasta. Look for it in the soup section of your supermarket (I just purchased a box for $1.79).
I love the earthy flavor of this barley mushroom risotto. It was inspired by a side dish I tasted at a local restaurant, Number 4. I searched online for barley mushroom risotto recipes that also used Parmesan and sage, but came up empty-handed. So, I decided to do what I always do — create my own version! This recipe isn’t quite the same as the restaurant version (there has to be a secret ingredient I’m missing) but it’s still deliciously frugal and something I’ll definitely make again.
Barley Mushroom Risotto with Parmesan and Sage
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp. sage
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
In a skillet, melt the butter. Saute onion, celery, garlic until translucent. Add mushrooms and sage and cook until mushrooms are tender. In another pot, boil the barley with 2 cups chicken broth until all the liquid has been absorbed. Tranfer barley to the skillet with the onion/mushroom/sage mixture. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and Parmesan cheese. Stir until risotto is creamy, adding another 1/2 cup chicken broth if necessary. Top with more freshly grated Parmesan to garnish. Serve immediately.
You can serve this alone as a meatless skillet dish or as a side with beef, pork, or poultry.