The Crooked Billet

Field Mushroom, Goats Cheese & Barley Risotto

Field Mushroom, Goats Cheese & Barley Risotto

I’m using pearl barley in this recipe to make a risotto with goats cheese. I’m often asked the difference between barley & pearl barley. Pearl barley simply is the barley grain that has been hulled & milled until it resembles small pearls.

Try using or local Hollam Hill goats cheese – get it from Henley farmers market (last Thursday every month).

For the Risotto:

100g butternut squash, peeled, 1cm chunks

Rapeseed oil

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

750ml vegetable stock

120g pearl barley

60g crumbled goats cheese

Handful chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Malden salt, freshly ground black pepper

For the Mushroom:

2 tsp thyme leaves

6 large field mushrooms

250ml vegetable stock

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

100g butter

Malden salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Scatter the butternut squash on a roasting sheet. Drizzle with a little rapeseed oil, season & bake for 30 minutes until soft & cooked.

Prepare the risotto. Heat a tablespoon of rapeseed oil in a large heavy based saucepan on the hob. Sweat the onion & garlic without colouring. Add stock & bring to simmer, stir in the barley, cover with lid & simmer for 50 minutes or until all the stock is absorbed & the barley is tender.

Take a large baking tray. Scatter the thyme on to the tray, place the mushrooms on top, stem side up. Pour over the stock & scatter over the chopped garlic. Divide the butter into 6 knobs, placing one in each mushroom, season. Cover the tray with foil & bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender.

When the barley has absorbed the stock & is tender, remove the pan from the heat. Crumble the goats cheese & stir it into the barley, along with the roast butternut squash, parsley & thyme. Taste & season. Watch the goats cheese melt into the hot barley.

To serve, place each mushroom on a plate – stalk side up. Divide the barley risotto between each plate, filling the mushroom cavity. Spoon over some of the mushrooms cooking juices. Drizzle with a little rapeseed oil.

At the Crooked Billet I serve this a starter with rocket & watercress salad. Or as a main course with roast root vegetables – celeriac, parsnip, squash & carrot.