Wish Upon A Dish: Beef, Barley and Mushroom Risotto - Updated

February 19, 2012

Beef, Barley and Mushroom Risotto - Updated

Have you ever made risotto? It's relatively easy, a one pot wonder and a very sexy dish.

Perfect for Valentine's Day, unless you are a diabetic.

One, on a long list, of forbidden foods, I did not want to give up the creamy, saucy, flavorful dish I truly loved.

Risotto is the name for a technique and as cooks have gotten more adventurous in the kitchen, it has been made with many other ingredients including minced calamari (something I will try soon) so all I needed to do was find a suitable substitution.

For me it was barley because as you cook it, it submits a starchy component just like rice,that is technically a starch but it is a resistant starch and extremely good for you. Anything that makes a creamy sauce that is great for your health is as good as it gets in my book. I actually like the taste of barley better.

Barley has nutritional advantages such as high fiber and antioxidant content, as well as being cholesterol free and low in fat. A number of current and ongoing research studies are concentrating on the potential health benefits of barley. Initial results in the lowering of blood cholesterol are promising, but additional studies are necessary to confirm results. For more in depth information on barley, visit this site, you will never look at barley the same way.

Gluten free and extremely diabetic friendly, it was a no brainer, plus I like the flavor of barley. I also love a good thick bowl of beef barley soup, so I took my best loved recipe and risotto-fied it. Worked out better then I could have predicted. You wouldn't even know it was not rice if you use the pearl barley and presoak for 30 minutes. Not totally necessary, but while you are dicing the onions and the carrots, why not rinse and soak the barley.

Although my original version of this dish was good, I have found a way to make it better.

I roast the barley. Adds a nice nutty flavor that pumps up the volume rather nicely.

If you have the time, before you soak the barley, spread it out on a sheet pan, slide it into a 400° oven and toast it dry for 8 minutes (just like you would nuts). Let it cool before soaking.

Only 8 minutes but it adds a depth of nuttiness that brings this dish alive. This may not look good (brown food, you know), but it is an excellent dish. Better than a basic beef stew, you will love this dish.

The last installment of my Braised Beef trilogy, this came together in 30 minutes.

If you do not happen to have a braised beef roast in your fridge, the best substitute would be cooked chop meat. Yes, I suppose you could use ground turkey but that's another post.

Beef, Barley and Mushroom Risotto
makes 4 servings

* 1/2 cup toasted, soaked barley
* 2 cups leftover beef
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 cup onions and 1 cup carrots, diced
* 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 cup beef broth
* 1 cup chicken stock
* 2 tablespoons soy sauce
* Black pepper
* Handful of peas
* Sour cream
* 1/4 cup Romano cheese, grated

1. Heat oil in dutch oven. Saute mushrooms, carrots, onions and garlic until softened.
2. Add barley and broths. Cook until barley is tender, stirring every 10 minutes, about 25 minutes.
3. Add beef, soy sauce, pepper and peas. Simmer until heated through.
4. Right before serving, add sour cream and cheese.

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1 comment :

anniebakes said...

I'm so glad I found your blog! I am not diabetic, but have been thinking that it would make sense to start watching the carbs and such as we get a little older. Stop by for a visit and maybe you can help me makeover a few of my recipes! anne