Thanks to butterscott's shrooming skillz and generosity, Chanterelles made it into kitchen stadium for the second time ever! Last time I made this yummy and simple tart. This time I went with barley risotto. I've been wanting to make barley risotto for some time, and thought that these gorgeous, orange, earthy chanterelles would be a perfect addition to the nutty barley.
So I looked around the internets, and ended up on the legendary food blog, 101 cookbooks. Her recipe for Meyer Lemon Risotto sounded awesome, and I knew I could adapt it to fit in my pretty chanterelles. I stuck to the basic recipe for the most part, and changed it up when it came to the add-ins. Here is my altered version of Heidi's barley risotto:
Barley Risotto with Chanterelles
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups "medium" barley
1 cup good quality dry white wine
6 cups chicken stock
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 handfuls chanterelle mushrooms, roughly chopped
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crème fraiche
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, shallots, garlic, and salt and saute, stirring constantly, for about 4 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften.
Add the barley to the pot and stir until coated with a nice sheen, then add the white wine and simmer for 3 or 4 minutes, until the barley has absorbed the liquid a bit. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle, active simmer.
In increments, add about 6 cups of stock, 1 cup at a time, letting the barley absorb most of the liquid between additions; this should take around 40 minutes altogether. Stir regularly so the grains on the bottom of the pan don't scorch. Add the mushrooms with the 4th or 5th cup of stock, so that they will get cooked, but not get mushy. You will know when the barley is cooked because it won't offer up much resistance when chewing (it will, however, be chewier than Arborio rice).
When the barley is tender remove the pot from heat. Stir in the lemon zest, Parmesan, and crème fraiche. Add salt to taste.
This turned out really good. Creamy and toothsome like a good risotto, but with the nutty flavor and chewiness of the barley. The rich forest flavor of the chanterelles shined with the summery fresh lemon and the creamy cheese and crème fraiche.
Oh, crème fraiche. This was my first time tasting it, even though I've heard it's praises sung on countless cooking shows and cookbook. Holy cow! Now I see why all the fuss. As someone who is not a huge fan of sour cream (although it totally has it's place in this world, no doubt), I am all about this rich, creamy, slightly tart substance of the gods. Like I needed a new vice.
Back to the risotto. I will be making this again. I felt good about the nutrition factor, but it also tasted kinda sinful! It's all about balance, people.
Now, this recipe makes A. LOT. of barley risotto. Like enough to give six grown-ass adults a full tummy. Just so you know. So there were leftovers, which I could not let go to waste. It was filled with treasure after all! Flecks of tasty fungus gold! To dress the leftover risotto up, I roasted some canned tomatoes, garlic and asparagus, with salt and olive oil, for about 30 minutes on 450. I put this mixture on top of the risotto and topped it all off with toasted pine nuts and more cheese. Yum!