Barley Risotto with Goats Cheese and Roasted Beets 

With Autumn taking hold and the weather turning decidedly chilly, I have turned to warming dishes to nourish me from the inside out. At this time of year, I always find I crave comfort food. And what better than a steaming bowl of cheesy risotto and roasted beets?

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Now, I know risotto isn’t normally made with barley but for me it encapsulates Autumn. Think of hearty stews and soups… food that warms “the cockles of your heart”, as my Nan would say! To be honest, I have absolutely no idea what that saying actually means but it’s got to be good, right?

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Ingredients 

3 medium raw beetroot, washed 

2 tbsp olive oil

255g pearl barley

450ml stock

450ml water

1 small onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

Good pinch of dried time

Good pinch of dried sage

Salt and pepper to taste

100ml white wine

60g hard goats cheese grated. I used Quickes

Fresh parsley to garnish (optional)

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Method

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Wash and trim beets. Cut in half, then slice each half into 4. You will get 8 pieces per beetroot. Transfer beetroot onto a roasting pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Roast the chopped beetroot in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.

While beets are roasting wash the pearl barley thoroughly. In a small saucepan, combine vegetable stock and water. Bring to a low simmer. Next, heat a medium sized frying pan on medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, followed by the onions. Let onions cook until translucent, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and pepper and let cook 1 minute more.

Pour the barley into the pan and stir well to coat with oil. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Reduce heat to low and add 1 ladle of the stock. Stir well and let grains absorb liquid. Continue adding the stock a ladle at a time and keep stirring until spelt is tender, about 45 to 55 minutes.

As you add the last of the stock, stir in the herbs. When the liquid is almost completely absorbed, mix in the goats cheese. Place the roasted beetroot on top of risotto and serve with a sprinkle of parsley (optional).

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Tara Smith

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