Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sweet Potato or Butternut Barley Risotto

Whenever I go on a Costco food purchasing binge, it's kind of a challenge to get to see whether we can eat everything I bought in the last week.  If we have to throw something away, Mr. Barefoot gets to be right and tell me I can't buy produce at Costco.
So how are we doing?  Last week, I bought a 6-pack of peppers, a 2 lb bag of green beans, 2 lbs of butternut squash and a giant bag of onions.  This week, I used the peppers as pizza toppings, and in the Quinoa and Pepper Saute, which was not very good.  Although it's better if you douse it in Greek yogurt or cheese. I used the green beans and butternut squash for the Indian Shrimp and Squash, which actually was pretty good.  Today, I used the last of the butternut squash in Sweet Potato Barley Risotto in the crockpot.  I went to link to this recipe and realized I'd never shared it.  How sad for my poor readers.  This recipe is from 125 Best Vegetarian Slow Cooker Recipes and you must go buy this book.  Seriously.  
You will need:
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried rosemary leaves
1 1/2 cups pearl barley, rinsed
3 cups vegetable stock
2 sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4 inch cubes (I actually cut them into 1/2 inch cubes - with the butternut squash, I just used about a cup and a half.)  

Optional: mushrooms.  I've added baby bella mushrooms to this a couple times now and it's generally pretty good.  

1.  In a skillet, cook the onions until soft.  Add garlic and rosemary and saute for another minute.  Add barley, stir until coated with onions/garlic mixture.  Add stock and bring to a boil.  
2.  Place sweet potatoes and/or mushrooms in crockpot stoneware.  Add barley mixture.
3.  Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or slow for 4 hours.  

I'm not normally a person that eats barley, but firstly, I'll eat anything with sweet potatoes, and secondly, barley is actually pretty good - it has that nutty, wholesome flavor that anything "good for you" has, but this doesn't taste that much like a crunchy-granola type of meal.  Plus, it's very good for you.  I don't really eat anything else with barley in it, but I think I would like to branch out a bit - any suggestions?


  1. This sounds delicious! Just one question: Do you add the barley mixture to the slow cooker too, at the same time as the mushrooms and sweet potato? Just checking -- I'm new to the slow cooker! Thanks.

  2. Good catch Jean - I'll correct that. It is supposed to say that you add the barley, etc. over top of the sweet potatoes.

  3. Thanks so much! I'll give it a try. Also, is pearl barley different from whole barley?