Warning! Slow Food Alert! Barley and Brown Rice Risotto

Once in awhile you just need to s-l-o-w down. The other night we had some fish we wanted to use to make a nice fish risotto. Just as in many places, it’s been raining. And raining. And raining. So when we opened the cupboard to discover that we didn’t have any risotto rice left (arborio, or canaroli, preferably), we were worried. What to do?

We did have some delicious short grain brown rice from Better Bulk. But it doesn’t really give enough starch to give the creaminess we like. We did have some pearl barley. Why not the two? So since we were in a kind of “use up what’s there” mode, we also threw in various veg that were in the fridge.We started by the usual risotto method – cooking the barley and rice in a little olive oil, with some onion, garlic, and carrots from Kelly’s. When it started to get translucent, but not toasted, we de-glazed with a little vermouth (but apple juice would work, if you prefer, or even a little vinegar).

Next, the rest of the veg – a bit of spinach that wouldn’t hold up another day for salad. A half tomato hiding in the fridge. Another half tomato with the nasty side cut off. And a little bell pepper and a few mushrooms.

All the while, keep adding liquid – for us, vegetable stock. Add a cup, stir. Keep simmering! Another cup…for barley and brown rice this might take an hour. Do it with a good friend or significant other. Play nice music. Drink some wine. It will be worth it!

When all was cooked down to creamy deliciousness, we stirred in the diced trout fillet, and a couple of spears of asparagus, broken into lengths. Soon it was done. Comfort food for a very un-spring-like day. A great meal to share.

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