This month the theme for the Slow Cooked Challenge over with Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen is Rice and Grains. I’ve only tried a risotto once in the slow cooker, and it was partly extremely soggy and partly still hard, so not successful at all! So I thought I might avoid rice this time and try a different kind of grain. In the supermarket many of the grains I looked at only needed a short cooking time (things like buckwheat, couscous and so on) and so a long cooking time wouldn’t really work for them. Pearl barley though is a grain I’ve used in lamb stews I’ve cooked in casserole dishes in the oven before, so I knew it could handle a longer cooking time.
I remembered a recipe in the book Slow Cooked by Miss South (check out her blog too) for a pearl barley risotto, or orzotto (orzo is the Italian word for barley), with beetroot. I decided to take inspiration from that recipe and make a pearl barley risotto with a similar base, using the ingredients in my fridge. A bag of spinach waiting to be used up and some light halloumi with mint caught my eye so these would go in too. Read on for my recipe for slow cooker spinach and halloumi pearl barley risotto!
A delicious vegetarian meal or side dish with spinach and halloumi
- 1 onion chopped finely
- 2 cloves garlic chopped finely
- 200 g pearl barley
- 600 ml vegetable stock made using freshly boiled water and 2 tsp vegetable bouillon
- 75 g fresh spinach chopped finely
- 40 g light halloumi cut in small pieces
Place the onion, garlic, pearl barley and vegetable stock in the slow cooker.
Cook on low for 5-6 hours, keeping an eye on the pot at the end of cooking to check for sticking.
Chop the spinach finely and stir it through the pearl barley.
Dice the halloumi and stir it through as well reserving some to place on top.
Season with pepper and serve as a light meal with salad.
Pearl barley doesn’t go soggy even if cooked for a long time as here. It retains a nice bite which is great and has a delicate nutty flavour. This risotto was delicious warm served with avocado, mozzarella and salad on the side. I’ll also be using the rest up cold in salads over the next few days.
Sending this over to the Slow Cooked Challenge hosted by Janice this month, with the theme of rice and grains. A great theme which made me cook something a bit different!
Also linking up with Meat Free Mondays with Jac from Tinned Tomatoes.
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