Whole grains have multiple health benefits. They help reduce cardiovascular risk, metabolic syndrome problems, lower blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of cancer. With all of these benefits attributed, they are a central ingredient for healthy aging.

In addition, whole grains will provide you with sustained energy thanks to the presence of group B vitamins. Our bodies take time to digest them, which helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce hunger over a longer period of time, than with refined products like white flour. We would be happy to make you fall in love with whole grains and allow you to increase their presence in your diet. To do so, we suggest a mushroom barley risotto with spinach.

N.B. : For more nutritious barley, we recommend using hulled barley which still contains the germ. Pearl barley can be used without the germ. It is a little less nutritious, but the cooking is faster and the texture, smoother.

Ingredients (risotto):

-1 half onion, diced
-3 finely minced French shallots
-2 garlic cloves cut into thin strips
– 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
-1/4 teaspoon curry powder
– salt and pepper to taste
– Butter
– olive oil
– 1 cup of uncooked hulled barley
– 1/2 cup dry white wine of your choice
– 2 trays of mixed mushrooms of your choice
– 1/2 to ¾ cup 15% cooking cream
– 6 cups of boxed beef broth
– pecorino, parmesan, asiago to taste (finishing)

Ingredients (complimentary):

-4 to 6 cups of spinach
– butter and olive oil
– salt and pepper to taste

Steps (risotto):

1-Rinse the hulled barley well in a sieve or fine strainer. Once rinsed, soak your barley in cold water. This soaking will shorten the cooking time of the barley a bit.

2-While your barley is soaking, cut your onion, your shallots and your garlic into thin strips. Unpack your trays of mushrooms and remove the soil if necessary.

3-Choose a pan that can accommodate six to ten cups of liquids. Heat six cups of beef broth over medium heat. Your broth will simmer and not evaporate too much by staying hot throughout the recipe. Throw the sprigs of thyme into your broth.

4-Take a large pot, and in a reasonable amount of butter and olive oil, allow the onion to sweat, add in the shallot and garlic for 6 to 7 minutes over medium heat. Then add the mushrooms and the curry, then cook them until medium brown. Meanwhile, put your barley to drain in a colander and add the rest of the ingredients. So, stir the barley to coat it with the spices. Pour the wine and let the barley absorb everything.

5-Risotto: add a ladle of hot broth, stir, and let the barley absorb again. The step is repeated until all the broth is almost all used up. Take a test while cooking to check the tenderness of the grain.

6-Continue cooking for a few minutes by adding the cooking cream. Finish your risotto with a sumptuous touch of parmesan, pecorino or asiago cheese.

7- (Touch of spinach): In a non-stick pan, heat olive oil over medium heat, and sweat your spinach for 4-5 minutes until they are wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste. You will only have to serve your spinach at will on your hot risotto when ready.