Well I was watching Nadia G.'s Bitchin' Kitchen and she was making risotto, which is made of rice and contains all sorts of cheese. I couldn't even begin to figure out a yay to make that Jack friendly, so I sort of ignored the whole recipe. Then a little later I started thinking, well could I make it with quinoa? Lentils? Barley? I searched and searched for recipes and found a great one on Browneyedbaker.com using barley and though it still required some adjusting to make it fit our needs, it looked easy enough.
Needless to say, this came out amazing. It was so creamy and even slightly cheesey, the mushrooms gave an outstanding flavor and texture, and the health benefits of barley were a nice touch.
I was going to make this meatless as well but for Chris' sake I added a little bit of sausage. We both agreed while we were eating this that it would have held it's own without the sausage though, so this could easily be a great Meatless Monday meal or vegan dish as well.
Sausage Mushroom Barley Risotto
*1/2 lb ground turkey sausage
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
12 ounces cleaned and sliced/cubed mushrooms (I used 2 portobellos and an 8 oz package of button mushrooms)
3 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quick cooking pearled barley
5 cups vegetable broth (divided)
1 Tbl soy free Earth Balance buttery spread
2 Tbl nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbl soy free Vegenaise
1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet or saucepan on medium heat. Saute onion until it just begins to brown, then add sausage and brown, making sure to break it up. Add mushrooms and saute until they have released their liquid and are golden brown, about 10 minutes. You may need to add 1-2 Tbls of water if the mushrooms start to stick.
Stir in herbs and garlic, then add in barley and stir to coat for 1 minute. Add 4 cups of broth and bring mixture to a boil over high heat.
Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat to medium and add another 1/2 cup of broth, stirring until it is absorbed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and do the same, until barley is tender but still slightly firm. (If you used non quick-cooking barley, you may need to add another cup of broth in this manner).
Remove from heat and stir in butter, yeast flakes, and vegenaise until all are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
* just skip the sausage and this becomes vegan