Barley risotto with mushrooms, bacon crumbs & roasted tomatoes – Carey Boucher Erasmus

Carey Boucher Erasmus's Barley Risotto with mushrooms, bacon crumbs & roasted tomatoes

Carey Boucher Erasmus’s Barley Risotto with mushrooms,
bacon crumbs & roasted tomatoes

Carey said at the time of creating this recipe, “My latest foodie obsession has to be barley, I just love the flavour and texture it brings to a dish. This humble grain is so nutritious and has a myriad of health benefits. The only time I ever used barley was when I made a big pot of soup, although lately, I’ve been incorporating it into salads and even risotto! I find that by adding grains such as barley to my meals, it increases satiety and I find that I won’t be hungry for hours afterwards – which is a good thing when cooking or shooting tempting stuff all day!

So after feeling confident with barley as a base in salads, I became curious how it would turn out in a risotto. I must say, we really enjoyed it. The texture is different – you have to chew a bit more than you would with arborio rice. It does take on flavours well but does have that distinct, but pleasant barley taste. I find that I only need to have one helping of barley risotto and I am satisfied whereas I’d come back for more and more if it was an ordinary risotto. Oh, a big difference is that it does take up to 45 minutes to cook opposed to 20 minutes for rice, but it is worth it.

My first barley risotto attempt went pretty well, I decided to do mine with mushrooms, crispy bacon crumbs and roasted tomatoes. Man, it was delish! And it tastes even better the next day! Whoop!”

To give the risotto a “bacony” flavour, saute half of the packet(chopped) with the onion and mushroom mixture. Make it meatless and leave the out the bacon.

Barley risotto with mushrooms, bacon crumbs and roasted tomatoes
Serves 4

50 g butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 sprig of rosemary or thyme, chopped
250 g diced mushrooms of your choice
1 c dry white wine
1 1/2 c pearl barley
+ – 1. 2 L boiling hot veg or chicken stock
1 c grated parmesan cheese
250 g shoulder bacon
+- 250 g mini Italian tomatoes
olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat the butter until bubbling. Add the onions, garlic and herbs and saute until soft and fragrant, then add the mushrooms and saute until they are softened also.

Add the wine and simmer uncovered until reduced, then add the barley and stir until all the grains are covered in the buttery onion mixture, then add the stock 1 cup at a time and cook gently for +- 45 minutes, adding stock all the while. Most of the liquid will cook away and you’ll be left with a “risotto” consistency (you may need to cover with a lid to allow barley to cook evenly).

Stir in 3/4 of the parmesan cheese and serve topped with crispy bacon crumbs, roasted tomatoes and left over parmesan.

Bacon crumbs
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius.
Place slices of bacon into a greased baking tray and pop into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes until super crispy on both sides (turning half way through). Remove from tray and allow to cool. Use a sharp chopping knife to chop the bacon into small or big crumbs/bits. For a finer crumb, pulse in a food processor.

Roasted tomatoes
Preheat oven to 220 degrees celcius.
Place tomatoes onto a baking tray, rub with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for + -15 minutes until bursting and blistered.

 Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE

Belfield Syrah 2011

Belfield Syrah 2011

Carey Boucher Erasmus

Carey Boucher Erasmus

Carey Boucher Erasmus is a food writer, photographer, recipe developer and restaurant consultant.

She says, “As far as I can remember, I loved being in the kitchen. I grew up watching my mother in wonder as she prepared a myriad of dishes on any given day. And when my grandmother baked, I would be the official bowl licker.  I even owned a mini wooden oven and stove set and always imagined myself being a chef while “cooking up” pots of mud and grass.

When I was old enough to reach the real stove and sink, I started cooking and experimenting – from dodgy rubbery microwave chocolate cake to edible and sometimes rather delicious meals. I loved home-economics in high school and even joined a “catering society”.

After matric, I studied Food science and Nutrition at Cape Technikon where I specialised in recipe, product development, nutrition and food communication (styling, food demonstrating etc.).  In my final year, I graduated with 8 distinctions and  achieved the title of Class valedictorian which I was pretty chuffed about. I was ready to go out into the food industry!”

Do follow her on her website –


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