Barley is a wonderful ingredient - it's so earthy and unprocessed and I like to throw it into all sort of things, such as lamb stews and soups. I've used it here to make a dish much like a risotto, but without all the stirring! Despite seeming an odd couple, miso and parmesan do work well together and give the barley an intensely savoury flavour that's perfect with sweet carrots.Serves 4.
2 tbs light olive oil
12 baby carrots, ends trimmed
2 tbs butter
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled and cut in half
500ml [vegetable] stock
1 tbs light soy sauce
1 tbs butter
3 heaped tbs finely grated parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a frying pan until very hot. Add the carrots and cook for 8-10 minutes, turning every 2 minutes, until golden. If your pan isn't big enough you may need to do this in batches. Add the butter, thyme and garlic to the pan with 125ml water and season with sea salt and black pepper. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning often, until the carrots are tender.
Meanwhile, to make the barley risotto, put the stock and soy sauce in a saucepan with 1 litre water and bring to the boil. Add the barley and cook for 45-50 minutes, stirring often, until the barley is soft but not breaking up. Stir in the butter and parmesan. Serve the carrots on top of the barley.
Next time: The carrots could be served hot on a bed of couscous or, left to cool and tossed in a salad with beetroot, toasted pine nuts and a soft cheese.
Roasted carrots with barley risotto [via Treehugger]