Barley Risotto with Leeks, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

Another healthy one!  It’s a record!  This barley risotto isn’t heavy like typical risottos (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but maybe after a food/carb heavy thanksgiving weekend you feel like something lighter.  You could even substitute some leftover turkey for the grilled chicken in this flavour-packed and zesty dish that could work as a side or a main.  Oh, and leeks are HUGE right now; take advantage of them!

Chop your leeks and garlic up to get started.  Sometimes leeks get dirt buried deep into their layers, so to clean them, cut dark green part off and remove any outer layers.  Trim the root end, then cut the leek in half lengthwise and rinse to remove any dirt.

Leeks and Garlic

Heat some oil in a small soup pot or large saucepan.  Throw in leeks and garlic, and sautée until fragrant and soft. Then add the barley and white wine, and stir until the barley is well coated.

Sautéed Leeks, Garlic and Barley

Add some broth and let it cook until the barley is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.  About 45 minutes to an hour.  But the good news is you don’t have to constantly stir it like you do with regular risotto!  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that)

Add your veggies about 5 minutes before serving, and top with some grilled chicken. Then add generous amounts of Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.

Barley Risotto with Leeks, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

Barley Risotto with Leeks, Lemon and Grilled Chicken

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped leek (white and light green parts only), chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup barley
¼ cup white wine vermouth
3 cups chicken stock (add more as needed)
1 cup other chopped veggies (I used Broccoli and zucchini here)
zest and juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp grated Parmesan Cheese
¼ tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Large chicken breasts, grilled

1.    In saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat; cook leek and garlic, stirring until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in barley until well coated.
2.    Stir in wine until absorbed.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until barley is tender.  If needed, stir in a little more stock or hot water near the end of cooking time to maintain a creamy consistency.  Stir in veggies, lemon zest and juice and Parmesean; season with salt and pepper.
3.    Top with grilled chicken.

From:  G.I. Cookbook

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