Currently my idea of a successful homemade meal is one which uses up one or more of the myriad of jars, packets or pots of ingredients which I have stashed away. I just have too much stuff, including a massive range of ingredients which in all honesty is too much food for two people to ever get through.
My ingredient stash is packed with grains, lentils and beans – they are amongst my favourite ingredients, not only are they delicious, but also cheap and perfect for bulking out more expensive foods.
Orzotto is an Italian dish, a risotto made with pearl barley rather than rice. It is both delicious and frugal; currently pearl barley is about 49p for 500g making it one of the cheapest ingredients out there. However, it can take an age to cook, so if you want to use it in a speedy supper it needs a little bit of planning and pre-soaking – in the morning put the barley into a bowl, pour boiling water over it and leave all day. A useful tip is to freeze the pre-soaked barley to use another day.
I usually make my own stock, simply cover two chicken carcasses with water, throw in a carrot and stick of celery and simmer in the slow cooker over night. Freeze in “cubes” in a silicone mini muffin tray then pack into a plastic box.
This was delicious, variations are endless depending what is in the fridge. Vegetables, leftovers, scraps of cheese. We finished the jar of pearl barley – the space created will soon be filled with a replacement bag.
Recipe: Quick Cook Orzotto (Pearl Barley Risotto)
200g / 7oz / 1 cup pearl barley
Glug olive oil
1/2 onion – finely chopped
2 cloves garlic – sliced
250ml / 1/2 pint / 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Glug white wine
Handful or peas and corn
Place the pearl barley in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to soak for at least 3 hours, then strain.
Fry the onion and garlic in the oil for a few minutes until soft, add the barley and fry for a few minutes.
Gradually add the stock and wine, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until it is absorbed and the barley is soft.
Add the peas and corn, and cook for another minute.