Fermented barley and girolle risotto

  • medium
  • 4
  • 60 minutes
Not yet rated

Robin Gill's fermented barley risotto recipe provides a modern twist on a classic. Fermenting the barley for five days adds an extra flavour dimension to the grain, and girolles provide a gorgeous earthy flavour. Once you've mastered the barley base, you can finish the dish with any seasonal vegetables you have to hand.

First published in 2018




Fermented barley

To make the risotto

To garnish


  • Sterilised jar or container
  • Muslin cloth


Place the barley in a suitable-sized sterilised container and pour the water over the grains. Stir with a clean sterilised spoon, then cover the container with muslin. Keep in a warm part of the kitchen and allow to ferment for 4 days
The barley is now ready to use. It can be stored, in the liquid, in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days
Drain the barley, reserving the liquid. Set a suitable-sized pan over a medium-high heat and add 75g of the butter. When it starts to foam, add the barley and cook for about 30 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pan every couple of minutes as the barley starts to catch and caramelise, until it is dark and roasted in appearance with a nutty aroma
Add the vinegar to deglaze the bottom of the pan, stirring and scraping well, then pour in half of the stock and season with a little salt. Turn down to a simmer and cook as you would a risotto: once the first addition of stock has been absorbed, gradually add the remaining stock and some of the reserved water from the barley, stirring the liquid into the grains until absorbed. It should take about 10 minutes for the barley grains to be cooked through and reach a risotto consistency. Adjust the seasoning and stir in the ricotta
  • 1 dash of sherry vinegar
  • 300ml of brown chicken stock
  • salt
  • 20g of ricotta, blended until smooth
Now cook the mushrooms. Place a frying pan over a high heat and add the butter and 250g of the girolles. Cook for just a couple of minutes or until wilted. Finish with a pinch each of salt and pepper and lemon juice to taste
Place a generous spoonful of barley in the bottom of each warm serving bowl and top with the girolles. Finish with the rocket and shave over the remaining raw girolles
First published in 2018

Dublin-born Robin Gill has worked under revered chefs such as Marco Pierre White and Raymond Blanc, but his own string of restaurants – Sorella, Bermondsey Larder and Darby's – are relaxed, innovative and very exciting.

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