Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Midweek Recipe - Superwoman Edition: Leek and Squash Pearl Barley Risotto

I know how Superwoman must feel. Tired, and in need of a cuppa, that's how. On Tuesday night, in no particular order, I hoovered, did laundry, made Daniel's lunches for the rest of the week, made my lunches for the rest of the week, prepared veggies for Thursday's tea and cooked an amazing pearl barley risotto*.

Tuesday nights are my get things done nights, as of last week. There is no time for laundry or hoovering on any other day, thanks to the fact that we're doing fun stuff, so Tuesday it is. The upside of not doing fun stuff on a Tuesday is that we get to cook and eat proper food; I have a lot to thank the freezer for, but there comes a time when I just don't want to eat leftovers, and that time was yesterday night. I also love to chop stuff, at least once in the week. Chopping gives me time to put things in order, to create angles, shapes and colour combinations that sooth my mind and leave the frustrations of the day where I found them. And then there's the stirring and the delightful smells, and then there's the eating.

So this recipe is a healthy, fun option for an evening that demands some stove therapy. It's not quick, but it doesn't need as much attention as normal risotto, so you can prepare tomorrow's lunches, do the hoovering and sort the laundry between stirring and seasoning. Of course, normal risotto is all well and good, but this is a more filling and much more virtuous version, and I love the bouncy texture of pearl barley!

Leek and Squash Pearl Barley Risotto
Serves 2

2 leeks, chopped
2 cups squash, cubed (I used harlequin, but a sweeter squash such as onion or butternut would be lovely)
3 cloves garlic
120g pearl barley, rinsed
Vegetable stock
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp dried sage
100g feta cheese
A good glug of oil
Salt and pepper

1. In a saucepan, heat the oil on a low heat and fry the leeks with a pinch of salt and the garlic until soft. Add the squash and stir for another few minutes, stir in chilli and sage, then add the pearl barley and coat in the oil.
2. Add stock to the pan until it just covers all of the vegetables and pearl barley grains. Stir and leave until it starts simmering, then stir some more.
3. Add more stock as the water is absorbed. This is a much slower process than with arborio rice, and the pan can be left for a while between stirs, so long as the heat is low.
4. After about 45 minutes the grains should be a spongy texture and soft to chew. Allow the remaining water to be absorbed and then stir in the crumbled feta cheese. Season with pepper and serve!

*I realise that my parents used to do such things every night of the week, but I'm still getting used to real life.

1 comment:

  1. Having a get stuff done routine is such a big help.
    I do certain housework on certain days, all fits round work days and everything else that goes on.
    Today is our bed change and bedroom cleaning day. Which is what I should be doing right now.......
    Lisa x