Barley Risotto (with Kale)

I’m procrastinating going home today because Roo’s friend Hancock (aka Footpenis), and his girlfriend going to spend a few days with us.

Why would this make me want to stay at work?  The girlfriend is one of those that I deemed had, “bitch face,” at the wedding we went to a few months back.

This could be one of those times where I could put my “big girl pants” on, cook a lovely dinner with a happy (yet creepy, because fake happy = creepy) face, all the while making great conversation because I’m the perfect half-asian hostess.

I am not the perfect half-asian hostess.

I’m the neurotic poodle that sits in the back of the room and eats her own hair in a frenetic state; like I’m drowning, and the hair is my air.

And even though some, some may find the poodle adorable, most want to smack it across the nose with a rolled up piece of newspaper.

But lucky for you, my neuroses, I mean, procrastination, means I can actually write up the barley risotto recipe that I promised I would get to.

See, procrastination can work.  Although, it’s been four days since my last post because of procrastination. But never mind that.

Adapted, quite a bit, from Food and Wine

This barley risotto is delicious just by itself.  Although, I implore you, the greens make this dish So. Much. Better.  The barley has a slight chew and the kale is incredibly tender.  Those two mixed in a creamy sauce makes this my “go to” cold weather dish.


3 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth

1 medium onion, diced (I love onion)

1 – 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (and I also love garlic)

1 teaspoon dried thyme (this may be too “thymy” for some, so start with 1/2)

1/2 cup pearled barley

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 bunch of kale (optional), leaves ripped off stems, into bite sized pieces


Sharp knife

Large saute pan (one with tall sides)


Medium saucepan


Over medium-high heat, pour 3 cups of chicken broth into a medium saucepan.  Cook until it simmers, then remove from heat.

Add olive oil to a large saute pan and place over medium-high heat.  When the oil starts to shimmer, add onion and cook till translucent.  Add thyme and garlic, and cook till fragrant (about a minute).  Add barley to the whole mix.  Still stirring every so often, cook until the barley starts to pick up a bit of golden color.  Ladle in one cup of chicken broth.  Stir until the almost all the liquid is absorbed.  Keep adding the chicken broth, one cup at a time, until you have one cup of warm chicken broth left in your medium saucepan.  If you opted to use kale, add both the kale and the last cup of broth to the saute pan.  If you do not wish to use kale, add the final cup of broth, and again, stir, until the almost all the liquid is absorbed.

Serve immediately.

2 thoughts on “Barley Risotto (with Kale)

  1. I LOVE this recipe. I use it as is and it’s delicious. Way to go on getting my daughter to eat kale. I’ve also made it using veggie broth rather than chicken stock. It was fine, not as good as with the chicken stock, but I was serving a vegetarian dinner and it was a hit.

  2. Wow, my first comment! Now I feel incredibly guilty that I have five draft entries sitting on my computer and haven’t posted them yet.

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe. Kale, as I’m sure you can tell, is one of my favorite things, and yes, this is a great way to convince others that it’s not so bad!

    Thanks for reading! (And commenting!)

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