Chorizo and pearl barley risotto

Pearl barley chorizo risotto

Long gone are the days when pearl barley was a food resigned to the soup or broth pot, languishing at the back of your granny’s cupboard along with the dried prunes and lentils. And hooray for that! Pearl barley, if you’ve never tried it, is a wonderful thing – the grain has a pleasing bite to it – holding its shape and texture well and has a very slight nutty flavour which means it pairs wonderfully with both earthy and sweeter flavours. Its has a bit of a revival in the foodie world – even being hailed as one of the new super foods. While it’s certainly not new, I will agree that it is super! Give it a try, you’ll love it! 🙂


200g spanish chorizo, sliced
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300g pearl barley
400g can chopped tomato with sliced olives
1l hot chicken stock, made with 1 stock cube
2 tsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp single cream


Heat a large frying or risotto pan over a medium heat. Slice the chorizo into slices aprox. 5mm thick, add to the pan and fry for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent them from burning. The chorizo already has a lot of fat in it so you won’t need to add any butter or oil. Once the chorizo has started to crisp round the edges, use a slotted spoon to remove and set aside, reserving the oil in the pan. Add the slices onions to the oil and cook for a couple of minutes until the onions become translucent. Now add in the garlic and pearl barley and stir well before turning the heat down to a low simmer. Add the tin of chopped tomatoes and chicken stock, stir then leave to simmer away for 30 minutes. Give your risotto a quick stir every 10 minutes and top up with a little water if it starts to look dry at any point.

After 30 minutes, the pearl barley grains should be soft but still have a little bite to them and the sauce should be thick and glossy. Add the chorizo back to the pan along with the dried rosemary. Check for seasoning and add a tiny bit of salt and pepper if needed. After a couple of minutes to heat the chorizo through, remove from the heat and stir in the cream before serving up.

Serves 4



  1. Thistles and Kiwis

    Looks lovely! Autumn is on its way down here in New Zealand, and this looks just the dish to combat the southerly winds.

  2. Yana

    I love pearl barley! Often I add it to the soups, I also tried to cook risotto with pearl barley (butternut squash and mushroom ones), but I just love your idea of having the chorizo with that! Oh.. I so look forward to trying it! 🙂

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