Barley risotto: My wife made this dish and I assisted by chopping up the ingredients. I finely chopped onion (large, half), shiitake mushroom (5 medium, stem removed), and garlic (3 cloves). In a small pot, add olive oil (1 tbs) and saute the above vegetables for 2-3 minutes on a medium flame, season with salt and pepper. Add one cup of pearled barley and saute to coat the grains with the oil. Add 2/3 cup white wine (we used sake) and cook until the wine is completely absorbed. Add 3 and 1/2 cups of chicken broth (our usual Swanson reduced salt no-fat version). After it comes to a boil, cover and turn the heat down to simmer and cook for 30 minutes or more, stirring once or twice during cooking, until done. (It should be creamy but all the liquid should be absorbed). Add crumbled fresh goat cheese (2 tbs) and fresh thyme (from our herb garden) to taste. Adjust seasoning if needed. We also added small cubes of oven roasted root vegetables (this was leftover from a previous dish. sweet potato, onion and carrot were tossed with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper, roasted with garlic and onion at 350F for 45 minutes to one hour).
As an accompaniment, we served barley risotto and oven roasted green beans. This was a very satisfying "comfort" food type dish. The barley has a nutty flavor with a rich mouth feel and a slight "al dente" crunch. Of course, a good red wine is called for. We had a nice Spanish Temperanillo, Caro Dorum 2005.