If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it – you’ll never go back!

If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it - you'll never go back!

If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto. Seriously, I find that barley is an even better grain to make risotto with than arborio rice. In the end, it yields a risotto that’s just as creamy as the “real” stuff, but it has so much more substance to it and is so much chewier, and tastier, too.

Plus, honestly, I find that barley is much easier and less fussy to work with than the traditional arborio rice.

If you’ve never tried it, I strongly suggest that you do, at least once. I get the feeling that you’ll never go back! Unless you’re a real purist, but even then…

If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it - you'll never go back!

And if you’ve never tried making risotto before, I think that barley risotto is a really good place to start. I’m pretty sure that you’ve heard or read countless times that truly good risotto is a quasi impossible task to tackle, that you need to be an expert in order to succeed… Nonsense! Risotto isn’t nearly as hard to make or fussy as they say. It just takes a little bit of time to make, that’s all.

You only need be patient, and must also follow a few very simple rules, but nothing truly complicated at all, you’ll see…

Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth

Your first course of action would be to bring a generous amount of chicken broth and water to a slow simmer in a medium saucepan. We’re talking about 8 cups of liquid in total here. I’m suggesting that you use chicken broth and water because as it cooks and reduces and gets absorbed by the grains, the broth will become extremely concentrated. With that in mind, I think it’s a good idea to dilute it some.

To make this batch of barley risotto, I used Kettle & Fire’s fantastic Chicken Bone Broth and used 6 cups of it to 2 cups water. I think that it was a perfect ratio. However, had I used my homemade chicken broth  — which happens to be extremely concentrated — I would’ve totally brought the amount of broth down to 4 cups and added 4 cups of water to it.

So, rule number 1: be sure that your broth isn’t too concentrated or salty to start with…

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

While your broth is coming up in temperature, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan set over medium heat; add the onions and garlic, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cook until soft and sightly colored, about 2 minutes.

Rule number 2: go easy on the salt! Always keep in mind that your broth will become really concentrated, and also too you’ll be adding Parmesan cheese to the dish later. This all contributes to elevating the level of saltiness of the dish so you’re better off adding more at the end then trying to take out some…

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Now add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes; don’t hesitate to add a little bit more oil to the pan if necessary.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Next, stir in the barley and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the grains are well coated and slightly toasted, about 3 minutes.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Then, pour in the white wine or dry vermouth, if using, and continue stirring until the barley has absorbed all the liquid, about 30 to 60 seconds.

While it’s not absolutely necessary that you add the wine or vermouth, it does add a lot of depth to the overall flavor of the dish, so I strongly suggest that you do throw it in. Unless you have a good reason not to, of course!

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

It’s now time to start adding the warm chicken broth, about 1 cup or so at a time…

Rule number 3: don’t be tempted to add too much liquid at once. It’s very important that the liquid be added very gradually throughout the process.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

From this point on, you’ll be stirring almost constantly, except for when you’ll be adding more liquid.

And now for rule number 4: always make sure that the broth is completely absorbed between each addition.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Stirring and adding more warm broth, about 1 cup at a time, you will be doing for the next 45 minutes or so…

Which brings me to rule number 5: stir, stir, stir and never stop stirring until the risotto is done and tender and creamy.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

And don’t forget rule number four: always, always, always wait until that liquid is completely evaporated before you add more…

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Rule number 6: always be sure that any liquid you add to your risotto is nice and hot: this will ensure that the temperature of the barley remains consistently hot, which, along with the constant stirring, will encourage the release of the starch in the barley. In turn, that starch will thicken the surrounding liquid and make it nice and creamy for you.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Last but not least, rule number 7: taste often! 

Making risotto isn’t an exact science so you’ll want to taste your risotto regularly during cooking to gauge the doneness of the barley; you may not need to use all the stock, or you may need a little more, depending on how soft and how creamy you like your risotto. Remember rule number 6, though: whatever you do, make sure you only add hot liquid to your risotto! If you run out of stock, be sure to warm up more before adding it to your dish.

Likewise, you may find that your risotto is plenty tasty for you towards the end and might feel more comfortable adding just plain hot water to it… only you can be the judge of that, but it’s another reason why you want to taste often during the cooking process.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Once the barley is cooked to your liking, vigorously stir in the fresh Parmesan cheese.

When adding the cheese, it helps to be a little vigorous about it; this will make the risotto somewhat fluffier and creamier. If you’re feeling a tad indulgent, you could also add a little bit of butter or heavy cream to your risotto at this point. But that’s totally optional, really… trust me, this barley risotto already feels crazy indulgent enough as it is. You’ll see!

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Finally, delicately stir in the leftover chicken; you won’t want to mix quite as vigorously this time as you want those pieces of chicken to remain as “intact” as possible.

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com

Now kill the heat, hit your risotto with a handful of chopped fresh parsley if you want and serve it without delay, topped with a little bit more grated Parmesan cheese.

I’ve only got one more thing to say: hold on to your hat, cuz you’re in for a ride!

If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it - you'll never go back!

If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it - you'll never go back!

If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it - you'll never go back!

Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto by Sonia The Healthy Foodie | Recipe on thehealthyfoodie.com
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Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
If you are a fan of traditional risotto, then you will fall head over heels for this Creamy Chicken Mushroom Barley Risotto.Try it - you'll never go back!
Servings: 2

Ingredients

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  • 3-4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 8 oz sliced mushrooms

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  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup white wine or dry vermouth, optional

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  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1-1/2 cups diced leftover cooked chicken
  • 2-3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and water to a slow simmer over medium heat.
  • Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet or saute pan set over medium heat; add the onions and garlic, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and cook until soft and sightly colored, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking until they turn golden brown, about 5 minutes; add more oil to the pan if necessary.
  • Next, stir in the barley and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the grains are well coated and slightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Then, pour in the white wine or dry vermouth, if using, and continue stirring until the barley has absorbed all the liquid, about 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Start adding the warm chicken broth, about 1 cup or so at a time, and continue to stir constantly, making sure that the broth is completely absorbed between each addition. Continue stirring in more warm broth, about 1 cup at a time, until the risotto is tender and creamy, which should take about 45 minutes from the time you first started adding warm broth. Taste regularly to gauge the doneness of the barley; you may not need to use all the stock, or you may need a little more, depending on how soft you like your risotto. Just be sure that any liquid you add to your risotto is nice and hot: this will ensure that the temperature of the barley remains consistently hot, which, along with the constant stirring, will encourage the release of the starch in the barley. In turn, that starch will thicken the surrounding liquid and make it nice and creamy for you.
  • Once the barley is cooked to your liking, vigorously stir in the parmesan cheese, then delicately add the leftover chicken.
  • Kill the heat, hit your risotto with a handful of chopped fresh parsley if desired and serve without delay, topped with a little bit more grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side.

Nutrition

Calories: 1016kcal, Carbohydrates: 93g, Protein: 52g, Fat: 45g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 101mg, Sodium: 3074mg, Potassium: 1601mg, Fiber: 17g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 625IU, Vitamin C: 61.8mg, Calcium: 397mg, Iron: 6.7mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Sonia! The Healthy Foodie

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