This came out just as i had hoped. Yes, it took a long time but I read the reviews and new what to expect, 6 hours on high. I love fennel and this came out with a great mild fennel flavour. I didn't have any fennel seeds so left them out. Also didn't have any black olives. Used 1 large and 1 small fennel bulb and also threw in some celery that I needed to use up. Used 2 carrots and 3 shallots. Served to my friends here in Italy and they said "a wonderful barley risotto!" Thanks for the recipe!
Barley Risotto with Fennel
From EatingWell: January/February 2008
This convenient alternative to traditional stovetop risotto uses healthy, fiber-rich whole grains—either barley or brown rice—seasoned with Parmesan cheese, lemon zest and oil-cured olives. The gentle, uniform heat of a slow cooker allows you to cook a creamy risotto without the usual frequent stirring.
16 Reviews for Barley Risotto with Fennel
I forgot the fennel seeds and didn't have a very large fennel bulb (replaced it with some onion instead), and we definitely missed the fennel flavor. Overall, this turned out wonderfully! 8 hours on low in my 6 quart slow cooker was just right, and it stayed just fine on warm for 5 hours after that. Next time, I will definitely use the fennel seeds. The only other change would be maybe to leave out the olives. The barley did get very creamy, and absorbed all of the liquid in the recipe by the end of the 8 hours. I imagine it would do fine on high for 4 instead as well.
Thanks to previous reviews, a few adjustments made this absolutely delicious. I reduced the fennel seeds to 1/2 tsp, and the flavour was well balanced and delicate. I used verjuice instead of wine, and goat cheese feta instead of parmesan, just because that's what I had available on the day. Slow cooked on High for 5 hrs - this was too long. Next time will go no more than 4 hrs to avoid the slight glugginess.
Very tasty and my husband loved it! I added two more carrots and topped with fresh tarragon. I will definitely make it again.
Risotto is a process as much as a dish, which is why this recipe fails for so many people. You might as well invent something like "Stir-fry in a slow cooker," because stir-fry is a discrete process, quite apart from whatever ingredients are involved. Check out true risotto online, and stick with the process....this is NOT what slow-cookers are for.