Monday, April 8, 2013

Bacon & Tomato Barley Risotto

I use the term risotto loosely here because although the end result is very creamy like a risotto, it does not require the time and effort needed for a traditional version of the dish.  Barley is a great alternative to arborio rice, the type of rice normally used for risottos.  It is packed with protein, fiber and complex carbs unlike white rice.  But hold up! It is not 100% healthy, there a half a pack of bacon thrown in there....WAIT....I made up for it with all the spinach!  Everything is in balance again.
I swear my Dad was just telling me yesterday that bacon is actually considered healthy now....suuuuure. He always goes on rants about what one doctor says is healthy today is not healthy tomorrow.  All in moderation I respond or else we would all be a dark chocolate, bacon eating, obese winos (red wine of course - white is not as good for you).


Bacon & Tomato Barley Risotto

Adapted from Oh She Glows - a vegan version

Ingredients:

1/2 pack bacon
1 cup dry pot barley
1 small onion
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp basil
1 large clove or garlic
14 oz can of diced tomatoes
2 cups of milk
1/3 cup spinach (we buy bags of small frozen cubes)
3/4 cup water
S&P to taste
1/4 cup parmesan or more/less to taste

Cook 1/2 pack of bacon which has been diced.  Remove bacon to a plate and most of the grease, leaving a tbsp or so.  
Rinse pot barley in strainer and place in pot that has a lid.  Coat the barley, onion and herbs in the bacon grease and lightly toast in pot on medium heat.  Reduce heat and add garlic, cook for one minute.  
Add tomatoes, milk and water.  Stir well and bring to gentle boil. Reduce head and cover pot with lid on the angle allowing air to escape.  Simmer for approximately 40 minutes stirring every 5-10 minutes or so making sure not to burn the barley to the pot.  Add S&P and parmesan to taste.
The barley tends to be a bit chewy so cook longer and add more liquid if desired.
Makes about 2 cups.  

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