Mushroom & Blueberry Barley Bowl
It’s a little known fact that Mushrooms & Blueberries share some of the same volatile flavour compounds, which is why they complement each other so well. Through in the nutty nuance of Barley and the sweetness of caramelised leeks and this is a bowl that really does give you a hug from within.
50g Unsalted Butter
2 Leeks, finely sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
180g Sliced Chestnut Mushrooms
2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
250g Fresh Blueberries
170g Pearl Barley
120g White Wine
950ml Vegetable / Chicken Stock
50g Parmesan Cheese, grated
Cracked Black Pepper & Salt to season (your stock and parmesan may be salty so be careful)
1. Heat the stock in a large pan and keep warm with a lid on to prevent evaporation.
2. Heat 30g butter in a sauté pan and add the leeks and a pinch of salt, add 1 tbsp water and lower the heat. Cook, stirring every 5 minutes for 20 minutes or so until soft and beginning to caramelise. If they look like they are starting to catch, just add a splash more water.
3. Once they are sweet and sticky, add the garlic, mushrooms and remaining 20g butter. Cook over a medium high heat until the mushrooms look golden and have lost their liquid.
4. Add the barley and cook 1-2 minutes to absorb the flavours and begin to toast. It will smell nutty. Add the fresh thyme and 1 ladle of the warm stock. Lower the heat to a simmer and continue to add the stock, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding any more.
5. Once all the stock has been added, check the barley, it should have some bite but remain tender. If it’s not quite there you can add a little extra water.
6. Stir through the blueberries and parmesan with some cracked black pepper. Remove from the heat, Stand for 5 minutes, covered to allow the blueberries to soften in the residual heat.
7. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking, the blueberries should add some welcome acidity.
8. Serve with extra parmesan, and if you’re feeling flush, a splash of cream.