Wish Upon A Dish: Beef Barley Mushroom Risotto {+ the Lowdown on Barley}

November 12, 2013

Beef Barley Mushroom Risotto {+ the Lowdown on Barley}

I usually make a Beef Barley Soup once a year and while I love it, I think The Nudge wishes it had more POP. I got 'that look' when I mentioned barley risotto so I am upping my game and he's going to enjoy this dish, I promise, or else!

First thing I have to do is to soak the barley. An hour will work, overnight is always better but it is not necessary, just extend the cooking time by about 10-15 minutes.
Now, we cook this dish exactly like you would a risotto but with barley, not rice.

The night before I slow cooked two small chuck steaks in beef broth for 4 hours on high, until it shredded easily (I use a timer to start and end by breakfast) and soaked the barley as you would dried beans. I always have cooked mushrooms in the freezer, measured in 1/2 cup bags. All I had to do was throw the onion, carrot and garlic in the processor and grate some cheese. This dish should take no longer than 40 minutes.

I will guarantee that you will make barley risotto all the time.
I have to say that after one bite The Nudge proclaimed his dinner as "wow! this is good!" and inhaled his portion. I knew it was good but this version was really, really good. That one spoonful of mascarpone made all the difference.

Let's get cooking.....

Beef-Barley Mushroom Risotto
makes 4-6 servings
* 1/2 cup pearl barley, soaked overnight
* 1/4 red onion, minced
* 2 large cloves garlic, minced
* 1 large carrot, diced
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
* 1 quart good beef stock
* 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
* 1 tablespoon both unsalted butter and olive oil
* 2 cups cubed chuck
* 1/2 cup peas (optional)
* 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
* 1 ounce mascarpone cheese
* 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Saute the onions, garlic, carrot until they soften. Throw in the barley and saute until it starts to color, medium heat works here.
Add the mushrooms, the minced chuck meat, 2 ladles of beef broth, the rosemary and thyme. Lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the Marsala, simmer and then stir every 3-4 minutes, adding more broth as the liquid is absorbed by the barley. When the barley is soft (taste or squeeze) add one more ladle of broth, a spoonful of mascarpone cheese and the butter, stirring vigorously, making sure the barley gets airborne. You want to whip as much air in the mixture as possible, that's what they call mantecare. Add a handful of cheese, mix gently and spoon the mixture into bowls. Pass additional cheese at the table.
Dinner rolls would be great here, to clean the plate. That's called OH MY GOODNESS!!

Now for the nutritional information:
Barley is considered a low GI food.

Type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes affect over 80 million Americans.  Health and nutrition professionals remind us, however, that this disease can be controlled and even prevented.  It’s a matter of making some simple but important lifestyle choices including losing weight, increasing physical activity and including plenty of whole grain, high fiber foods such as barley in the daily diet.

Barley is an excellent food choice for those concerned about type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes because the grain contains essential vitamins and minerals and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, particularly beta-glucan soluble fiber.  Research shows that barley beta-glucan soluble fiber promotes healthy blood sugar by slowing glucose absorption.  For example, findings from a clinical trial published in the December 2006 edition of Nutrition Research showed that mildly insulin-resistant men who ate muffins containing barley beta-glucan soluble fiber experienced significant reductions in glucose and insulin responses, compared to responses after eating muffins made with corn starch.

In a clinical study reported in the August 2006 edition of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, data showed that subjects who ate cookies and crackers made with barley flour enriched with beta-glucan soluble fiber also experienced significant reductions in glucose and insulin responses compared to responses after eating the same products made with whole wheat flour.  A long-term study published in the August 2007 edition of the Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice journal reported a 30-percent decrease in HbA1c (average blood glucose level) in type 2 diabetics who consumed a healthy diet including pearl barley that supplied 18 grams of soluble fiber a day. Regardless of the form of the grain, there is always a ready source of beta-glucan soluble fiber in barley.

Unlike many grains which contain fiber only in the outer bran layer, barley contains fiber throughout the entire kernel.  So whether it’s whole grain or processed barley products, dietary fiber, including beta-glucan soluble fiber, is available in amounts that have a positive impact on improving blood glucose levels.

It’s easy to include barley in a healthful and delicious diet.  Choose barley flakes for a hardy cooked breakfast cereal.  Add pearl or whole grain barley kernels to your favorite soups, stews, casseroles and salads.  Or use cooked pearl or whole grain barley kernels as a fiber-rich addition to your favorite stir-fry or Chinese take-out entrees.

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pipedi said...

Oh, wow, this looks good. My hubby is diabetic, and I need to find recipes that are good for him that he'll actually eat! I can't wait to read more of your blog. Thanks!

Susan..... said...

Hi, pipedi,
Thank you for visiting. I am in the process of reformatting old recipes, so if you have any questions, just email me or leave a comment. I get both.
I love barley because it is chewy and I believe possesses that Umami quality that we all love.

Anonymous said...

Your mode of explaining the whole thing in this post is genuinely good, all can easily be aware of
it, Thanks a lot.

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