Kale RisottoLocal Flavor: A new way to eat more kale
Published in Burlington Free Press – Feb 14, 2013

Written by Shawn Calley, Executive Chef, Amuse at The Essex Resort & Spa

Kale has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance lately (and yes, we strongly encourage eating more of it), but beyond sautéing it or baking it into kale chips, many people aren’t really sure how to prepare it.

For this week’s Local Flavor, I’m offering up a really nice barley and kale risotto. It’s the perfect side dish for chicken or fish, but it’s also great as an entrée all by itself.

You’ll notice the recipe does not call for Arborio rice; the truth is that risotto is a cooking method and not an ingredient. For this recipe, we’re using barley for a more unique flavor that really meshes well with the kale.

Barley and Kale Risotto
4 cups chicken stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ white onion, sliced thin
8 ounces chorizo, sliced
11/2 cups barley
1/2 cup white wine
1 red pepper, sliced thin
10 ounces chopped kale
3 ounces butter
2 tablespoons fresh thyme
3 ounces feta cheese

Warm chicken stock over low heat. In a separate sauce pot, add olive oil, onions and the chorizo. Cook until onion is translucent and the chorizo is mostly cooked. Add barley and cook until coated with oil. Add the white wine. Cook until wine is completely incorporated into the barley. Lower heat to medium, and start adding one cup of warm stock at a time, stirring every 30 seconds as the stock reduces almost completely. Add more stock until it is all incorporated (approximately 40 minutes). When you get to the last cup of stock, add the red peppers and kale. Remove from heat and add the butter, thyme and feta. When butter is melted, salt to taste.