Barley Risotto with Herbs and Fried Pigeons

S15 (US Season 9)EPISODE 09
Serve the barley risotto with thin slices of duck breast.


The staple food in olden days was porridge, it was what people ate every day. This is the luxury version, more like a risotto than porridge.I served with slices of oven-roasted duck, but if that is too fancy for you you can of course replace duck with chicken. As an alternative for soaking grains in cold water, you can give the dish extra good taste by using fresh vegetable juice instead of water! I simply take a whole lot of vegetables and extract as much as possible from them using a juicer. It is much simpler than making a traditional stock. If you want to make the most of the vegetables, you can make the stock from the squeezed-out remains of the vegetables.

Do like this:

Juice the vegetables in a juicer.

Soak the barley in 2/3 of the juice plus enough water to cover for 1 hour, or, if you have time, overnight.

In a small pot, bring the barley to a boil. You might need to add more water. Add enough to just barely cover the barley. Bring to a boil, cover an reduce the temperature. Let simmer for 30 minutes, until the grains have softened. You may need to add a little more water, but do not overfill.

Meanwhile, score the fat side of the duck breast, season the whole breast with salt and pepper. Fry fat side down at medium high heat for 10 minutes, flip and cook for another 7 minutes, or until the core temperature is 136 F/58 C. Leave to rest uncovered for 10 minutes. The temperature will rise a few more degreed while resting. (For chicken, ensure that the temperature is at least 150 F/65 C.)

When the barley is cooked and getting a little dry, stir in butter, grated cheese and the rest of the vegetable juice. Season with herbs.

Slice the meat. Serve the barley risotto with thin slices of duck breast.