Pearl barley “risotto” with Lamb

This dish is loosely based on Italy’s Orzotto, or what we would consider a pearl barley version of risotto. Pearl barley is a nutty tasting grain with a great bite to it and is a good alternative to rice. Pearl barley lends itself well to the earthy flavours the lamb, sage, chestnut mushrooms and asparagus. Serves 3-4.

Preparation: 20mins

Cooking: 30-40mins.


  •  300g pearl barley
  • 2 onions- diced
  • 4 garlic cloves- crushed
  • 1 leek- sliced
  • 2 carrots- diced
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms- sliced
  • 125g asparagus tips
  • 180-200g smoked bacon lardons
  • Roast beef stock 600ml
  • 187ml white wine
  • 350-400g leftover roast lamb
  • 10 sage leaves- chopped finely
  • Small bunch of chives- chopped finely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Lemon


  • Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan and brown bacon lardons over a high heat.
  • Lower the heat to medium-high; add onions and leeks, stirring often and fry until just softened. Then add garlic and fry for one minute. Next to the pan is the carrots and fry for 3-4 minutes or until starting to soften. Follow with chestnut mushrooms and fry for 1-2 minutes. Pour in the white wine.
  • Sprinkle pearl barley and sage over the pan evenly.
  • Pour beef stock into the pan.
  • Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 30 minutes or until the pearl barley is tender. Season to taste.
  • In a separate frying pan, heat remaining oil and brown leftover lamb in batches over a high heat. Squeeze over lemon juice and season to taste.
  • Serve the pearl barley risotto with the lamb and garnish with chives. Enjoy!


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