Saturday, 14 June 2014

Beef and red wine pearl barley risotto

I'm a big fan of risotto- such a hearty winter dish. It always amazes me how thick and rich it becomes just by the slow cooking process. But I wanted to see how it would work with pearl barley (my latest favourite grain) and with red wine and beef instead of white wine and chicken, which is the most common risotto flavour combo. And it turned out quite well, if I do say so myself! I topped it with sliced beef steak but it would also work with slow cooked beef in the dish. This dish does take some time to prepare, so make it worthwhile and cook up a big batch and freeze some for next time!

Why not experiment with your own risotto this Winter? A basic recipe requires a grain (such as aborio rice or pearl barley), stock (chicken, beef or vegetable), wine (white with chicken or veg and red with beef or lamb) plus some onion, garlic and vegetables! 

Beef and red wine pearl barley risotto
1 C pearl barley, soaked in 3 C water for at least 2-3 hours, then drained and rinsed
3 C reduced salt beef stock
2 C water
½ C red wine
1 brown onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1 ½ C carrots, sliced
4 C thinly sliced silver beet or spinach
350-400g lean beef steaks
1 bunch broccolini

  1.  Saute onion, garlic, carrots and mushrooms in a large saucepan over medium heat until just soft.
  2.  Meanwhile, in a separate saucepan, bring stock and water to the boil, then keep on a gentle  simmer.
  3.  Add pearl barley to the saucepan over a low-medium heat and stir to coat. Add wine and cook, stirring, until most of the wine is absorbed.
  4.  Add ½ C (or 1 ladel) of stock at a time to the barley, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Repeat until most of the stock is used and the barley is tender but still chewy, and is no longer absorbing any more liquid (~45-55 minutes).
  5.  In the last 10 minutes of the cooking, sprinkle steaks with salt and pepper and cook in a frypan over medium-high heat until cooked to your liking. Remove from the pan and slice.
  6.  Add silver beet or spinach to risotto and stir until wilted (adding more liquid if necessary).
  7.  Meanwhile, steam broccolini until just cooked.
  8.  Serve risotto topped with slices of steak, with broccolini on the side.

Serves 4-5

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