New Grain Cooking: Barley-Brie Risotto
By Kate Heyhoe
A One-Pot, Fast and Fabulous Meal
This is one of my favorite pressure cooker recipes, and was intended to be part of Cooking Green, but we ran out of space. So I’m sharing it now. It’s a good example of the types of recipes found in the book.
This is an economical, one-pot dish, but my family loves it simply for the way it tastes: rich with creamy Brie cheese and cozy with toothy bites of barley. As a bonus, it meets all my requirements for being green: it’s meat-free, use ingredients you can buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste, and requires little cooking fuel.
For the cook, it’s a model of carefree cooking, needing only 12 minutes of active prep. And if you keep a wedge of Brie in the fridge, most of the remaining ingredients are staples or pantry-ready, so you can whip up an easy, no-brainer dinner without planning or stress. There’s almost no chopping involved, so it’s almost as fast as waiting for take-out (and perhaps more nutritious and delicious). Try it. I think you’ll like it, as a meat-free main course, side dish, or lunch.
A New Green Basics Recipe
Serves 4 as a side; 2 as a main
- Green Goodness: Pressure cooker saves fuel and time. Meat-free entree or side
- Prep/Cooking Times: 12 minutes prep +30 minutes unattended
- Prime Season: All year
- Conveniences: One-pot meal, little chopping, mostly pantry ingredients
Shrink your cookprint with this meat-free main course, which my husband even prefers to traditional risotto. Toothsome, tasty barley cooks in half the usual time with a pressure cooker, and stands in for rice in this robust risotto-style dish. Brie adds a cheesy spin different from the usual Parmesan (but feel free to gild the lily with Parmesan on the side, if you like). Unless the rind is hard or tough, I leave the rind on the brie; it falls apart with heat, but you may remove it if you prefer. Domestic Brie works fine in this recipe, or experiment with other types of cheeses made close to home.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup pearl barley
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
- 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced (optional)
- 1/4 pound Brie, in small chunks
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. In a pressure cooker, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Stir in the barley. Cook 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan or stirring occasionally, until toasted. Stir in the onion and garlic. Cook until the onion softens, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the broth and soy sauce (they’ll splatter at first) and add the rosemary, if using.
2. Lock the lid in place. Cook over high heat and bring the cooker to full pressure. Reduce the heat to medium-low, or adjust as needed to maintain even pressure. Cook 18 minutes, remove the pan from the heat. Let the pressure drop naturally. The barley should be tender but pleasantly chewy; if not done, add more broth or water and cook a few minutes without pressure, stirring occasionally. (If not serving right away, cover the pot. Reheat before adding the Brie, thinning with more stock if the mixture seems dry.)
3. Stir the Brie into the hot barley until melted and absorbed. Serve with a generous grinding of pepper.