Test Kitchen - Sausage Barley "Risotto"

[Trying to style my food and photographs better - what do you think of this first attempt? I took the picture and got the placemat for it!] Luckily for me, at the time I decided that pearl barley would be my Test Kitchen ingredient for the week, I also recalled that Sorted Food had done a recent entry on using it to make a risotto of sorts. Of course, since they always make such amazing dishes and form fabulous recipes, I took a stab at their version with a few small tweaks of my own. Click here for their original version. This lovely risotto has a bit more of mouth-work involved since barley is not as soft as risotto rice but you can't deny how delicious it is, especially when you want something hearty and inexpensive. Also, barley's quite good for you as it is high in fiber! Keep in mind that it's extremely

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 6-8 servings)

  • olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. hot Italian sausage, cased
  • 12 oz. pearl barley
  • 1 cup white wine (I used Spier Sauvignon Blanc)
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 large Italian squash, diced
  • handful of parsley, finely chopped

Step 2: Preparing the ingredients
I had noted above that the sausage should be cased that you purchase but you're going to uncase it when you use it. It could be as part of your prep or you can do it when adding to the pot. Anyhow, dice up your onions well. Mince the garlic and set aside. In a large pot/saucepan, add oil on medium heat and onions. While that is cooking, measure out your liquids, dice the squash, and prepare the parsley (squash and parsley can be placed together in the same prep bowl).

Step 3: Cooking the raw ingredients
When your onions are starting to get translucent, add in minced garlic. Then uncase Italian sausage into pot, breaking it up to small pieces with your spatula. Once meat has browned, add in pearl barley and toss to coat in oils. Add white wine until reduced.

Step 4: Finishing
Add in chicken broth 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is completely absorbed before adding next 1/2 cup (about 30-40 minute process). Add squash and parsley in the last 5 minutes of cooking. Dish is done when the barley is cooked and slightly chewy. Enjoy!

This week's Test Kitchen ingredient: orange marmalade
I've noticed that some people don't seem to know the difference between jam, jelly, and marmalade. Actually, it's more like the difference between the first two of those three but I'm going to pick on marmalade for now because I haven't personally worked with it before. Marmalade is a fruit preserve that incorporates both the juice and the peel of citrus fruits in the preserving process using sugar and water. This leads to a bit of a bitter taste since the pieces of peel themselves are bitter. It can be made from a variety of citrus fruits including lemon, lime, grapefruit, etc but the one I think people see or hear about most commonly is made from oranges. So yeah, let me know on Facebook what you think I should use orange marmalade for!