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Garlic Scape Pearl Barley Risotto

Garlic scapes are in season from late April- June. They are the flower stem of any hard-neck garlic variety and are much similar to asparagus in texture, but with a rich and creamy garlic taste. You can usually find them at your local farm shop, from your local market garden, or maybe from your own garden if you’re growing hard neck garlic this season.

This recipe comes from Hewood Organics - a certified organic market garden growing an abundance of beautiful organic vegetables, set just a few miles away from us on the Dorset border.

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  • Prepare: 20 Minutes
  • Cook: 40 Minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients & instructions
  • garlic scapes or asparagus
  • kale or chard
  • one-half bunch of spring onions
  • half of a butternut squash
  • 10g basil
  • 100g oyster mushrooms
  • 300g pearl barley
  • 150ml white wine
  • 100ml double cream
  • 1 vegetable stock cube/pot
  • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
  • grated cheddar - as much as you like!
  1. Rinse and drain the pearl barley until the water is no longer cloudy. Drain excess water and pour over boiling water, 3 times the volume of the barley, and add bicarb. Place a lid on the pot, and leave to soak for 4 hours.
  2. Drain the water from the pearl barley, pour over boiling water once more, twice the volume of the barley, and add your vegetable stock. Bring to the boil and then cook on a low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. In another big pot, fry small, diced butternut squash and chopped garlic scapes or asparagus in a little oil and salt on a medium heat. Turning down the heat, add mushrooms and chopped chard or kale..
  4. Once everything is cooked, combine pearl barley with the vegetables and add cream and wine. Simmer on a low heat for a few minutes and serve topped with chopped spring onions, basil and cheddar, to your heart's delight.

Notes on the recipe: If you are using asparagus, cut the bottom inch off and save for a stew- this part can be tougher in texture and take longer to cook than the rest of the spear. For extra flavour, include 3 cloves garlic to the recipe when adding the mushrooms.