Pearl barley releases its starch when cooked, which makes it a great alternative to rice when you’re making a risotto. This creamy dish can be served as an entrée or a belly-warming side dish.

Yield: Serves 6.



  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion or shallot
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup light cream (10%) or whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Chopped fresh parsley*


  1. Heat broth to simmering; keep warm. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large frypan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are light golden and liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until softened, about 2 – 3 minutes. Add barley and sauté for 3 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring, until wine is almost absorbed. Add 2 cups hot broth to barley mixture; cook, stirring frequently, until almost all of liquid is absorbed. Add remaining 4 cups hot broth, 1/2 cup at a time, cooking and stirring constantly until mixture is creamy, barley is tender and most of liquid is absorbed, about 35 – 40 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Add mushrooms and cheese, stirring until cheese is melted. Stir in cream. Stir in salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve immediately.
Nutritional analysis per serving:


243 calories, 13.1 g fat, 7.1 g protein, 22.7 g carbohydrate, 4.3 g fibre, 627 mg sodium


*Ingredient not included in nutritional analysis.