A very Irish risotto from Great British Menu veteran

Kitchen Cabinet: Great British Menu contestant celebrates her Northern Ireland roots

I grew up with pearl barley in the usual Irish stews and soups and I love using it at home in dishes like this. Not only does it work really well as a replacement for rice, but it also adds a wonderful texture and flavour. This especially true when it is gently toasted in the wonderful Abernethy butter made by Allison and Will Abernethy in Co Down.

The addition of the pea and mint puree also adds great flavour. It would also be delicious with some local goat’s cheese crumbled over the top just before serving.

Shauna Froydenlund is joint chef patron at Marcus restaurant in London and twice represented Northern Ireland on Great British Menu.

Pea and mint pearl barley risotto

Serves two



For the puree:
200g frozen peas
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
50g olive oil
20g picked mint leaves

For the risotto
50g butter
250g pearl barley
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
750ml vegetable stock, hot
60g mascarpone
40g Parmesan
1 unwaxed lemon


1 Begin making the pea and mint puree by warming the olive oil in a medium sized pan.

2 Add the garlic and very gently fry until golden.

3 Add the peas and saute until they’ve softened.

4 Pour the pea mixture into a blender (reserve the saucepan to cook the risotto) and blend until almost smooth - add a couple of tablespoons of water if it’s too thick.

5 Add the mint leaves, season,m and blend again until smooth. Set this aside until the risotto is cooked.

6 Using the same pan, add the butter and gently heat until foaming. Pour in the pearl barley and roast gently until light golden.

7 Add the finely chopped onion and grated garlic, season well with fine salt and cook until the onion is soft.

8 Slowly add the vegetable stock using a ladle, adding more every time the liquid absorbs. Keep stirring while you add the stock. It’ll take nearly twice as long as the usual rice would to cook.

9 Once all the stock is incorporated, taste (there should be a slight bite still) and if you’re happy with the texture, beat in the mascarpone and grate in the Parmesan, reserving a little bit to grate over the dish once it’s plated.

10 Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and cracked black pepper. Plate up and grate the remaining Parmesan and a little lemon zest over the top.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, who have come together during the coronavirus outbreak to share some of the easy, tasty things that they like to cook and eat at home #ChefsAtHome