Barley risotto with chicken sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms ~ Ham Pie Sandwiches

08 October 2012

Barley risotto with chicken sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms

barley risotto

After roasting my chicken the other day, I made chicken broth. This is super easy, if you've never done it. All you do is chuck your chicken trimmings and stripped bones into a stockpot, cover with lots of water, simmer for a couple hours, strain out the solids, put the pot in the fridge overnight, and skim off the solidified fat in the morning. Voila!

Most of the broth went immediately into the freezer for future application. When the freezer was full, I still had a few cups of broth left. Clearly, it was time for risotto.

I make my risottos with barley almost exclusively. It's cheaper, healthier, tastes very similar to standard arborio risotto, and is just as easy to make. Hooray for barley!

This risotto obviously has meat in it, but you can follow the same process with vegetable broth, olive oil, and your choice of vegetable additions, omit the cheese, and end up with an entirely vegan bowl of goodness.

Barley risotto with chicken sausage, zucchini, and mushrooms

olive oil or butter
dry white wine or dry vermouth
broth of your choice
precooked chicken sausage
salt, pepper
parmesan or other grating cheese

Start by dicing an onion and softening it in olive oil at the bottom of a large saucepan.

While the onion is cooking, fill another pan with about three cups of broth and heat it to a gentle simmer. Chicken broth is standard for risotto, but vegetable broth works well too. You can also make the veg broth from scratch--it only takes about fifteen minutes start to finish. No problem.

barley risotto

When your onion is soft and lovely, add about a cup of barley to the pan. Stir it all up and let it toast with the onion and oil for a few minutes. Then pour in a cup of white wine or dry vermouth, stir, increase the heat a bit, and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley has absorbed most of the liquid. I like using vermouth here because then you don't have to deal with an entire bottle of wine. It's cheaper, too. We're practically the only people I know to go through bottles of vermouth on a regular basis.

Now it's time to start the cycle of liquid additions. Get a ladle and add a cup or so of hot broth to your barley. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the barley has absorbed all the broth. Then add another ladleful of broth and do it again. Repeat this until your barley is cooked through.

barley risotto

In between broth additions, chop up your sausage, mushrooms, and zucchini, in that order. Add the sausage and mushrooms to the pot of barley with your second broth addition, or when the barley is a little over halfway done. Add the zucchini only for the last three or four minutes of cooking, so it stays a bit firm and nice.

When your barley is done cooking--taste it and make sure--take your pan off the heat. Season with a little salt, plenty of freshly ground pepper, and a handful of chopped parsley. If you want cheese, grate up some parmesan or romano and stir it in.

barley risotto

Eat, adding more parsley and cheese to taste. Don't you feel better?

Hooray for warm, cozy fall food!


noelle said...

Thx for this! I was just googling barley risotto yesterday!

Jes said...

Roasting chickens and making broth is one of my favorite wintery type things to do--love grabbing the frozen broth out of the freezer to use until it runs out! Your risotto looks amazing and a perfect way to honor the chicken.

Michelle said...

Yes! I've been staring at the barley in my pantry wanting to do something with it!

What's your go-to vermouth? Do you have a fav brand?

Eileen said...

Glad you guys like it! Yay for fall!

My go-to vermouth is whatever's on sale, for real. Right now we have LeJon extra dry. It's all good.

Caz said...

Risotto is perfect comfort food. I love to mix it up a bit using different grains. This looks delicious. Never tried it with vermouth before, must give it a go!

Stephanie said...

Oooh that does look like cozy, fall food. I love barley risotto. I made a butternut squash version last year. I like the idea of zucchini and mushrooms.

Joanne said...

Great minds definitely think alike! Love the barley risotto...especially that it was made from homemade stock!

Shut Up and Cook said...

Just the other day I thought to myself, "Hooray! It's roasting chicken season again!"

There is something so rewarding about how great it smells while it's cooking and then all the things you can do once it's done.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Abby said...

wow! that is awesome that you made your own broth, I've never tried that before. This looks delicious and I can just smell it simmering away, yum.

Sue/the view from great island said...

This looks amazing, and I have never heard of a barley risotto! I can't wait to try this, all the flavors sound so tempting...I'm hungry just thinking about it!

Hannah said...

I love barley risotto so much! That toothsome bite is simply the best. As much as I enjoy rice of all sorts, it can be a really welcome change of pace.

Eileen said...

Yay! Thanks, everyone! If you've never used barley in a risotto before, you should absolutely try it. So good! I actually read something about using farro in risotto the other day too, so I'm all excited to try that. Super fall comfort food!

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