Why not give this low-fat version of the classic Italian risotto a try. Swapping traditional risotto rice for pearl barley, this outstanding alternative has a more toothsome bite and is bursting with rich flavours. The Clonakilty Blackpudding, wild mushroom, bacon and barley risotto never fails to impress.
- 20g dried wild mushrooms
- 1 litre fresh chicken stock
- 15g butter
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 150g bacon lardons or cubed pancetta
- 3 leeks (washed and sliced)
- 300g pearl barley
- 4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
- 175g Clonakilty Blackpudding (cut into thick slices)
- 4 free-range eggs
1. In a small bowl, cover the dried mushrooms in boiling water for 20 minutes to soak and soften, then drain, reserving the soaking liquid. Set the mushrooms aside.
2. Heat the chicken stock and mushroom liquid together in a large saucepan and keep warm over a medium heat.
3. Heat the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Add the bacon lardons or pancetta and sauté until coloured on all sides. Add the leeks, turn the heat down to low, and cook for a further 5 minutes, until the leeks are soft but not coloured.
4. Add the pearl barley and the drained mushrooms to the bacon and leeks and stir to coat in the buttery juices. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
5. Add the stock to the pearl barley mixture, 1 ladleful at a time, just as you do when making risotto. Don't add the next ladleful of stock until the previous lot has been absorbed. Stir from time to time to encourage the starch to come out of the barley.
6. It should take about 30 to 40 minutes for the barley to soften and become creamy. If you don't have enough stock, just use water.
7. Stir in the parsley during the last few minutes of cooking.
8. Just before the barley risotto is ready, quickly fry the Clonakilty Blackpudding in 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan for a minute or so, until each slice is coloured on both sides. Put into a low oven or cover to keep warm.
9. Use the rest of the olive oil to fry the eggs to your liking.
10. Top each portion of barley risotto with a slice of Blackpudding and a fried egg and serve immediately.
Thanks to Delicious Magazine for this recipe.