I love the creamy, comfort of a risotto but this is a great alternative when I'm trying to eat healthier as it uses the whole grain, barley, rather than white rice. This serves two
Start by choosing your mushrooms. I like a mixture but all the same would be fine. In total you probably want about the equivalent of 12 medium ones
Chop the mushrooms. I like to cut some in chunks, dice some and slice some
Sauté them in a little olive or rapeseed oil with some thyme on a fairly high heat
You want them to be quite brown
I added some porcini powder at the end, but if you can't get hold of any soak some dried porcini and add them and the liquid to the risotto towards the end. Put to one side
Cut up one leek and sauté in a little oil on a low to medium heat until softening
Add two crushed garlic cloves
Once the leeks start to soften add two handfuls of barley
Add a chicken stock cube
Add about a wine glass worth of boiling water, stir until it is absorbed. Add the water gradually, about half a litre in total. Put the lid on and cook for about 20 mins. Stir occasionally.
Once nearly all if the water has absorbed add the mushrooms, some chopped parsley and salt and pepper
Add a spoonful of low fat cream cheese, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a grating of Parmesan. Stir well.
Serve in bowls with a little more Parmesan.
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