We might need to re-name this blog, “lovebeerlovetraderjoes.” LBLTJ. Rolls right off the tongue.
Nope. I have issues. When I saw the shocking chartreuse of their new item, “10 Minute Barley” I immediately put three in my cart. I can’t help it, I get so sucked in when TJs comes out with their new products. (I swear I’m not paid by Trader Joes’. If someone could tell me how to get them to pay me, that would be great though).
The first time I bought the barley I was a little nervous because I had never actually cooked with it before. I’ve eaten some great barley soups and some tasty cold barley salads, so was intrigued when the packaging said you could cook it “risotto style.” Since risotto is one of my all time favorite winter foods, I figured I’d give it a shot. And what better way to make this barley risotto than with some homebrewed amber beer? Since barley is one of the main ingredients in beer, it just made good common sense. Beerisotto. It’s a thing.
What I like about barley is it has a fantastic al dente texture, and you can top it with so many things. Since hubby is never thrilled with a meal unless there is “real protein,” aka meat, I added some beer braised chicken thighs to the mix with a touch of heavy cream and some Parmesan cheese. Cheese makes everything good. At least I didn’t add bacon. I’m not gonna say that I didn’t think about it, but sometimes I have restraint.
Plus I added these super tasty and simple grilled scallions. Mostly because all that brown was really non-photogenic.
Chicken Thighs in an Amber Parmesan Cream Sauce
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into one inch pieces
a few red pepper flakes (a pinch or more if you like it spicier)
a dash of smoked paprika
4 oz of a not too hoppy amber beer
1.5 oz heavy cream
1/2 cup of finely grated Parmesan cheese
Start by heating up a skillet and adding a bit of olive oil or butter. Add the chicken thigh pieces, red pepper flakes and smoked paprika. Sear the chicken well on all sides. Once browned, add the beer, turn heat to medium low/low and cover. Cook for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. In the mean time, start working on your beerisotto. After about forty minutes, add the cream and Parmesan cheese and stir over medium heat. Add fresh cracked pepper if you want.
Amber Barley Beerisotto with Grilled Scallions
2 tbsp butter
1 small onion, diced fine
few dashes smoked paprika
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup “10 minute barley”
~ 4 oz amber style beer
32 oz box of chicken broth (you won’t use the whole thing, but just in case)
Start with one tablespoon of butter and add the onion, a good pinch of salt and a few dashes of smoked paprika. Cook for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add your second tablespoon of butter, minced garlic, and the barley. Let the barley get some color on it, cooking for a couple minutes stirring halfway through to brown evenly. Once lightly toasted, add the beer, stirring well. Once this is mostly evaporated, add a couple ounces of chicken broth, stir and mostly cover. Cook just as you would a typical risotto, adding a little liquid as it evaporates and stirring often. This process will take about 35 minutes and the barley should still have a nice bite to it. Once nearly done, coat your scallions in some olive oil and salt, and place on a hot grill pan, turning once charred on the first side. This only takes a couple minutes