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Recipe – Pearl Barley Risotto

Brrrrrrr – it’s a cold one this weekend! We woke up to more snow but alas, it doesn’t seem to be settling. I’m having a lazy afternoon today. We’ve been to IKEA this morning (meatballs mmmmmm) and bought a few goodies and are meeting my brother for dinner tonight.

Today’s recipe is a twist on a risotto but it still retains that creamy, comforting feeling that a big bowl of risotto provides. Pearl barley makes a nice change to rice and is a good source as fibre as well as providing a slightly nutty flavour and interesting texture. I decided to make a mushroom and bacon risotto but as long as you have pearl barley and a good stock, you can play around with these ingredients to include other meat, fish or veggies.



A good glug of olive oil

1 box of chestnut mushroom, sliced

1 onion, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, chopped

200g of pearl barley

About 750ml of chicken of vegetable stock

Half a teaspoon of dried thyme

Salt and pepper

A handful of fresh parsley, chopped

A sprinkling of Parmesan or a strong cheddar

How to make it

  • Begin by lightly frying the sliced mushrooms in oil until lightly browned before setting to one side


  • In the pan, add some more oil and gently cook the onion, garlic and bacon until the onions have started to soften and turn translucent
  • Next, add the pearl barley and stir well


  • Start adding the stock in small amounts. Stir well and when the barley has absorbed most of the stock repeat until the pearl barley is soft


  • Add the mushrooms again, the thyme and season well
  • Before serving, stir through the fresh parsley (stalks and all!)


  • I served mine with a sprinkling of strong, sharp cheddar cheese



About hannahhotcakes

My name is Hannah. I live near Bath in a lovely village in the Cotswolds with my husband Ian, the love of my life for the past 10 years, in our dream cottage. I have landed my dream job as a primary school teacher and I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing. I am a self-confessed foodie and I love to cook, bake, and eat out as much as possible. Here are some things I love: My friends and family, travelling, fresh flowers, good books, having breakfast on my balcony, horror films, Christmas, tea, Las Vegas, lie-ins, red wine, Liverpool FC, music, sausage dogs, Spain, rare steak, fashion, cheese, American TV series and camping. And here are my pet hates: People dressed as animals, whistling, being rushed, being made to wait, girls who act stupid to impress a man, spiders, sunburn and rocket (it comes with EVERYTHING!)

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