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ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Barley “Risotto” Stuffed Cabbage

Risotto is made from rice, but you can cook other grains in a similar fashion. Here, barley, which grows well in the northern Irish climate, gets the Italian risotto treatment. To add an Irish touch, the barley risotto is used as a filling for stuffed cabbage.

The pearl barley used in this recipe has had its outer bran and husk removed, leaving a small white “pearl” of endosperm. Like white rice, pearl barley is not a whole grain.

This recipe, which serves four, is from Justin O’Connor, Executive Chef at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. It will be served at the restaurant on St. Patrick’s Day.


Ingredients For Stuffed Cabbage

  • 8 ounces pearl barley
  • 2 quarts (8 cups) vegetable stock
  • 7 ounces cream
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 large leaves of Savoy* cabbage

    Cabbage stuffed with barley risotto. Photo courtesy Guinness.


    *Savoy cabbage has a lovely crinkled skin. If you can’t find it, you can substitute conventional cabbage.

    Ingredients For The Tomato Sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 28 ounces (800g) chopped plum tomatoes
  • 2 ounces (75g) tomato purée
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup (200ml) vegetable stock
    Tomato Sauce Preparation

    1. Sweat. In a pan, sweat onion and garlic with olive oil for 3-4 minutes. Do not allow them to brown.

    2. Combine. Add the chopped tomato and tomato purée.

    3. Add. Add vegetable stock and season with salt and pepper.

    4. Cook. Cook over low heat for 7-8 minutes. Blend and serve.

    Stuffed Cabbage Preparation

    1. Blanch. Blanch the cabbage leaves in boiling salted water for 3 to 4 minutes and cool in ice water.

    2. Sweat. In a pot, sweat the onion, mushroom and garlic with a little olive oil for 4 or 5 minutes, without turning brown.

    3. Add. Pour in the stock, barley and thyme. Cover with a lid and slow cook till barley is tender, adding more stock if needed. When barley is cooked, add the cream and Parmesan cheese and cook out for 2 to 3 minutes. Season to taste.

    4. Stuff. Line 4 small teacups, acting as molds, with plastic wrap. Line each cup with a drained cabbage leaf, leaving some of the cabbage leaf extending over the edge. Fill the cups with the cooked barley risotto and cover with the overhanging cabbage. Use the plastic wrap to remove the stuffed cabbage from the cup. Twist the plastic wrap around the cabbage/risotto to form a ball.

    5. Serve. Add tomato sauce to the bottom of each dish; serve stuffed cabbage in the center. Serve while hot or reheat in the microwave.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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