Mushroom Barley Risotto with Rosemary and Cranberries

2009 Nov/Dec

The crisp, acidic tang of cranberries offsets the earthiness of this rugged barley risotto. Use any kind of mushrooms you like; if you use rehydrated dried mushrooms, you can use the soaking liquid along with the stock for the risotto – just be sure to strain it first.


  • canola or olive oil
  • 2 T. butter
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 c. pearl or pot barley
  • 5 c. warm chicken or vegetable stock (some of it can be mushroom soaking water)
  • 1 – 2 c. chopped mushrooms of your choice or dried mushrooms, rehydrated in boiling water
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 T. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/3 c. chopped fresh cranberries
  • salt and pepper to taste


In a medium pot, heat a drizzle of oil with 1 T. of butter over medium heat and sauté the onion for a few minutes, until it’s soft and translucent. Add the barley and cook it for another minute, then add 1 c. of stock.

Cook, stirring often, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add another cup and cook the barley in the same way, adding stock and stirring until all the stock is absorbed. It should take about an hour for the barley to become tender.

Meanwhile, heat another drizzle of oil and the remaining tablespoon of butter in a large skillet and sauté the mushrooms until they release their moisture and start to turn golden. Stir in the garlic clove, rosemary and cranberries and cook a few more minutes, until the cranberries soften. Add the mushroom mixture to the risotto and season it with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.