My creativity is back! All I needed was a new vegetable to play with and inspire my recipe day-dreaming! I find cooking to be so therapeutic, and love slow-cooked fall meals. This risotto fits the bill for an exam week dish perfectly: the beets roast slowly in the oven, filling the house with warmth and a slightly sweet aroma. The barley is hearty, and is healthier and less finicky than risotto’s traditional arborio rice. To sing the praises of this dish even further, it is both healthy (vegan, low-fat, good protein, whole grain) and economical (you use both the beets and the greens)! And unlike traditional risotto, it is just as good the next day, making it perfect to make on a slow Sunday and eat for lunch throughout the busy week!
Tripe B Beet Risotto
serves 4-6, inspired by my first Barley Risotto
3 golden beats, with tops
1/4 large sweet onion, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup pumpkin ale (my favorite is Shipyard Pumpkinhead)
1 1/2 cups barley
3 cups veggie stock
1 can cannelini beans, rinsed
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
Cut the beet greens from the beets and set aside.Wash the beets well and peel with a vegetable peeler. Slice the top and bottom tips off. Wrap in tin foil and roast at 300 for about an hour, or until the beet is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, chop into bite sized pieces. Meanwhile, wash the greens well and chop. Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit (this step removes the bitterness from the greens). Rinse well with cold water before using.
In a small pot, heat the vegetable broth over low heat. Dice the onion and saute in olive oil in a separate medium pot. When onions are soft, add the barley. Add the pumpkin beer and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Add the broth slowly, about a half cup at a time. Allow liquid to absorb slowly and completely, stirring occasionally, before adding more broth. As you add the last portion of the liquid, stir in the beet greens. Season with ginger and a pinch of salt. When the liquid is fully absorbed, stir in the beans and beets. Cover and reduce the heat to low, allowing to cook for about 10 more minutes, or until barley is no longer chewy. Serve hot and enjoy with the rest of the beer you opened!