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mushroom and sausage barley risotto

July 5, 2011

So, I kinda like playing around with weird hippie-grains. Chris and I still have a bag of bulgur wheat rolling around from one of our gourmet food runs that we haven’t quite figured out what to do with yet. (Seriously, how does one cook bulgur wheat?)

Ergo, despite the fact that I’m not really into risotto (I know, what’s wrong with me?), I was excited to try this recipe out. And who knew that barley was so cheap? It was hiding amongst the dried beans in the grocery store—a whole pound for 99 cents! A bahhhgain! 

Also, pretty tasty once you’ve stirred it into some onions, mushrooms, and sausage. I added the sausage part because I wanted some protein in there, but you could definitely leave it out if necessary and still have the nice mixture of meaty mushrooms and slightly-resistant barley. Strange grains FTW! 

Blerghhh, awful photo. Sorry, peeps. 

Mushroom and Sausage Barley Risotto
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 links bulk turkey sausage, casings removed
12 oz. cleaned and sliced cremini mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme 
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearl barley
6 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Saute the sausage, stirring to break up the meat, until cooked through and browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. 
2. Add the mushrooms and saute until they have released all of their liquid and are golden brown, about 10 minutes. You can add 1 to 3 tablespoons water if they start to stick.
3. Stir in the herbs and garlic, then add the barley and stir to coat for 1 minute. Add 4 cups of the broth and bring to a boil over high heat.
4. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Reduce the heat to medium and add more broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until each addition is absorbed, until the barley is tender but still slightly firm. You may not use all of the broth, but you will use most of it.
5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, stirring until incorporated. [I actually left the butter out because I thought the sausage had added enough fat and richness, but I know that’s kinda risotto-sacrilege, so feel free to keep it in.] Season with salt and pepper to taste. [But make sure you taste it before adding anything! Sausage is a salty bugger.]

Source: Brown-Eyed Baker 

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