Friday, September 13, 2013

Trader Joe's Hack: Risotto-Style Barley & Chicken

Trader Joe's is a big deal for our family.  If we shopped at Whole Foods we would be splitting a can of pea soup between the three of us for a week, so we make TJ's work for our needs.  I try to pick up a few new things every time we are in there, mostly because their store policy allows a customer to return something if you don't like it (without a receipt--since everything is a store brand!).

No brainer for me.

Almost every time I go in there I have a cardboard sleeve of something we didn't care for, a carton of frozen produce that went bad too quickly, or a bag of chips with a few handfuls missing.  They credit your grocery bill for the products you returned.  Every penny counts!  And every time I do it, I think of my dad who, as a child, was forced by my Grandfather to return a half-eaten frozen pizza to Safeway.  I come by it honest.

I will not be returning the empty bag of "10 Minute Barley".

It has been lurking in my pantry for awhile now, and since I've got so much time on my hands these days, meal planning is now becoming one of my favorite activities of my new career.  I happened to notice the recipe on the side of the package, and after reading about the Risotto in Bread & Wine, I was anxious to give this a try.  I made several modifications, the most drastic being the 3/4 cup of half and half I dumped in at the end.  I couldn't help myself.  I had to do something to counteract the health benefits of the barley.

This was a real winner.  Ben gave it the "this would be good for supper club" approval rating.  I would suggest, as always, reading through the recipe several times before beginning.

Risotto-Style Barley & Chicken
Adapted from Trader Joe's 10 Minute Barley 

- 1 Quart Chicken Broth
- 4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Diced Onion
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 Package of TJ's 10 Minute Barley
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 3/4 Cup Half and Half, Whole Milk, or Heavy Cream
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 4 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Grated Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
- Diced Chicken Breast, or your choice of protein

1.  Bring broth to a gentle simmer.
2.  In a separate skillet, heat oil and add onions and garlic.  Sauté until translucent, about five minutes.
3.  Stir in the barley and coat with oil.  Toast barley until color begins to appear, about five minutes.
4.  Begin to add stock to the barley 1/4 cup at a time, allowing each cup to fully absorb into the barley, around two minutes at medium heat.  Stir, stir, stir.  Continue adding stock until the barley is softly al-dente, about 20-25 minutes.  
5.  Add in the half and half before the barley is fully saturated.  Continue stirring.
6.  Once mostly absorbed, add the butter and cheeses.  Mix until melted and incorporate.
7.  Add the protein.  Garnish with additional cheese or fresh parsley.

Next time, I am going to add chopped red pepper at the beginning with the onions.  This was hearty enough to be a full meal.  Olivia couldn't get enough!

1 comment:

  1. feel free to bring this and other TJ yummies to turkey day:)