Carrot, Cumin and Barley Stew

Recipe from Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc.

For many years I’ve had a deep longing to create a form of risotto using barley, but as the Italians might tell me off, I decided to play safe and call this a stew. The spices add the complex notes – the heat should be gentle not overpowering. The dish is wholesome, satisfying and healthy yet luxuriously creamy and a fantastic showcase for the big flavour of my favourite Early Nantes carrots.

Cooking time: 1 hour 30 minutes.

Risotbarl MAIN IMAGE

Ingredients Required

For the carrots
500ml Carrot juice
100ml Water
1 pinch Sea salt
1 tsp Ground cumin
6 Carrots (ideally Early Nantes), skin on, scrubbed, halved lengthways then cut into 1cm slices at an angle
For the barley
2 tbsp Rapeseed oil
80g White onion (about ½ medium), chopped
2 Passilla Bajio chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
150g Pearl barley
1 tsp Ground cumin
1 Corn cob, cooked in boiling water for 20 minutes, covered
4 Rainbow chard leaves, rolled and chopped; stems cut into 3cm pieces
3 Spring onions, finely sliced
1 Small bunch coriander, chopped
1/2 Lemon juice
To finish
1½ tbsp Rapeseed oil
Micro coriander (optional)

Cooking Method

For the carrots

In a large saucepan on a medium heat, bring the carrot juice and water to the boil, then add the salt and cumin. Add the carrots and simmer gently for 10 minutes until they are cooked through. Remove from the heat, scoop out the carrots and reserve the cooking liquor.

To cook the barley

In a medium saucepan on a medium heat, add the oil and sweat the onions and chilli for 5 minutes, covered with a lid, until softened. Stir in the barley and cumin and continue to sweat for 1 minute. Add 500ml of the carrot cooking liquor to the pan, bring to a gentle simmer, then cover with a lid and cook for 50–55 minutes, stirring from time to time, until the barley swells and is firm with a good bite. Check the texture, taste and check the seasoning, and cook for a few minutes more, if necessary. Set aside in the pan.

To finish the barley risotto

Using a long knife, carefully cut the kernels off the corn cob by running a knife along the central core. Keep four of the biggest lengths intact to use as garnish. Set these aside then release the kernels from the rest. Add the chard stems and leaves, spring onions and loose corn kernels to the barley pan and stir, then place the pan back on a medium heat and cook for 12 minutes. Add the coriander and cook for 1 minute until wilted. Finally, taste and adjust the seasoning if required, then add the lemon juice to sharpen the flavour.

To finish

In a medium frying pan on a medium heat, fry the cooked carrot pieces in the rapeseed oil for 6–7 minutes, until caramelised. Add the reserved pieces of sliced corn to the pan and cook for 3 minutes until they begin to brown. Spoon out the caramelised carrots, add them to the barley risotto and divide the risotto evenly between four plates. Finish with a length of sliced corn and micro coriander, if using. Serve immediately.


Kew Book 120THUMB

Recipe from Kew on a Plate with Raymond Blanc published by Headline Ltd.

Recipe © Raymond Blanc 2015.

Photograph © Jean Cazals 2015.