food, Recipes

Barley risotto with balsamic mushrooms

Graeme Wyllie


500g barley

25ml olive oil, plus 20ml

25g leeks, sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

40g chicken or vegetable stock mixed with 1 litre boiling water

1 cup cream

½ cup pecorino, grated, plus extra
for garnish

200g mixed mushrooms

1 sprig thyme

40ml balsamic vinegar

1t brown sugar

sage, for garnish


In a pot, cook the barley until soft but with a bite. Drain and set aside. In another pot, heat olive oil and add the leeks. Fry gently, stirring continuously. After a few minutes, add the garlic followed by the cooked barley. Stir and add a cup of stock and the cream. Allow to simmer. Keep adding more stock and stirring in stages until you have used up the entire litre of stock. Add the pecorino and stir in gently. Make sure the consistency of the risotto is that of a very thick, rich soup – it should not be one heavy mound when dished up on a plate.

In a separate pan, heat 20ml olive oil and fry the mushrooms on a high heat, tossing continuously. Add a sprig of thyme, a pinch of salt, balsamic vinegar and sugar. Stir until the sugar has dissolved completely and remove from heat. Serve the risotto hot, topped with a generous helping of balsamic mushrooms, pecorino and sage.


This article was published in HL August 2016

Recipes and Food Styling: Khanya Mzongwana