This week my Team in Training team started training in earnest. We meet every Monday and Wednesday night (plus Saturday mornings) plus I have hand bell choir practice on Tuesday nights. Well, frankly, I am not used to having to go out in the evening quite so much. So, I have been an extra lazy chef this week. Well, yesterday I had the day off, and nowhere to go in the evening, so I decided to take advantage and make a slightly more complicated meal than I have been making this week.
I wanted to use the Kabocha Squash that was in my box two weeks ago before it started to go squishy. My original thought was to roast it, but I didn't have anything to go with roasted squash to make it a meal. As I looked through the pantry I found pearled barley and decided to use that to make a risotto-style barley (which would make a delightful meal). Whenever I make risotto, I use barley instead of arborio rice (mostly because that's the way the husband likes it).
Here's the ingredients:
1 onion, divided, half diced and half julienned
3/4 of a kabocha squash, diced (I was going to use the whole thing, but it was just too much)
1 cup barley
1/2 cup white wine
4-6 cups chicken broth (veggie stock would work too)
14 sage leaves, divided, half minced and half julienned
2 ounces Parmesan cheese
In a stockpot, I brought the chicken broth to a boil, then turned the heat down to low. In a saute pan I heated a little olive oil and added the julienned onion to caramelize. In a saucier, I heated a little more olive oil then added the diced onion and squash. I let it saute until until the onion was cooked through.
Whew, that's a lot of pots (glad I don't have to do the dishes).
I added the barley to the saucier and let it cook, stirring often, for another minute or so.
Next I added the white wine and let it simmer until it was almost gone. Then I added a ladle of chicken broth and let it simmer until it was almost gone.
I continued this process of adding a ladle of broth, then stirring until gone, over and over. The photo above is at about the 20 minute mark, which is when I added the julienned sage to the onions and the minced sage to the risotto.
After about 40 minutes, the barley and the squash were both cooked through, so I added the Parmesan cheese and tasted for seasoning.
I ladled the barley into a bowl and topped it with some of the caramelized onions.
How was it? Well, this was not one of my finest moments. While the flavor was good, the risotto got really thick as it set and the onions were a little bit over-caramelized (read slightly burned). So, while not an epic fail, things could have been better. Still, a tasty meal for a stormy night. If I made it again, I would add a bit more broth right before serving to held with the thickness problem and keep a better eye on the onions. Plus, I think a little sausage or maybe some bacon would have made this meal really shine.