Okay. You know what I just discovered? Risotto in the pressure cooker! And you want to know what else I just discovered? Barley risotto! To be more specific, barley risotto in the pressure cooker. Oh my goodness. Did you all know that you could make risottos in the pressure cooker?? I had no idea. I’ve been trying to add more whole grain recipes to my weekly cooking, and decided that I really had to have Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass. She is already the queen of pressure cookers, so I’m not surprised that she has included several pressure cooker recipes for whole grains.
This was wonderful! It was warm and comforting and filling and best of all ready in about 30 minutes from start to finish! Really! I am not a vegetarian and unlike a lot of vegetarian recipes, this did not leave me feeling like I was missing something. My store didn’t have any porcini mushrooms, so I used some shitakes instead (they weren’t dehydrated, but I soaked them in the water anyway). Serve this with a salad and you have a very easy weeknight meal!
Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
Serves 4 – 6
1/2 ounce (about 1/2 cup) dried porcini or other dried mushrooms, rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks (white and light green parts)
1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 cup pearl barley
2 tablespoons black barley (optional)
1/3 cup dry sherry (or red wine)
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3-6 tablespoons grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
3 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Place the mushrooms in a glass bowl and pour 2 cups of boiling water over them. Cover and let soak.
In a 4-quart or larger pressure cooker, heat the oil. Add the leeks and the fennel seeds and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until leeks are softened, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the barley, stirring it to coat it with the oil. Add the sherry and cook until it evaporates. Stir in the broth. Add the soaked mushrooms with their soaking liquid, taking care to not pour in any grit that may have settled in the bottom of the bowl.
Lock the pressure cooker lid in place and bring the cooker up to high pressure over high heat. Reduce the heat to maintain the pressure at high and cook for 18 minutes. Release the pressure by placing the cooker under cold running water. Remove the lid, being careful to tilt it away from you to avoid the steam.
Set the cooker, uncovered, over high heat and cook, stirring frequently until the barley is tender (it will still be a little chewy) and the mixture has thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and add the parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To serve, ladle it into bowls, and top with Parmesan if desired.