I took a little poll of my new roommates last week. Do you guys like Indian food? No. Thai? Ehh. Sushi? Definitely not. Any fish at all? Nope. Spicy stuff? It's ok but I can't take too much heat. How about lamb? Never had it. Vietnamese? What's that? South American? Is that like quesadillas and shit? We're done here. So as you can see, I have my work cut out for me trying to adapt my cooking style so that my friends can eat my food. Don't worry though, I like a challenge! Hopefully we can meet somewhere in the middle, and who knows, maybe some of those nos will turn into maybes and even yeses after a few months. One thing I do know that my roommate Joe loves is honey mustard. He was a bit of a honey mustard connoisseur back in college. For the first meal I cooked for everyone I decided to make a honey mustard risotto filled with tasty chicken, spinach, tomatoes and swiss cheese.
Onions, carrots, garlic, barley, and mustard seed make up the base of this risotto. The other thing I am getting used to in my new kitchen is the picture taking aspect of cooking. It's hard to get used to that when you forget your camera at work! Luckily my roommate Maureen was happy enough to let me use her point and shoot. (Joe, Maureen, how many are there of you in that place? 5 is the answer. 5.
I used barley instead of rice in this risotto because I wanted a stronger flavor and texture to go with this strongly flavored dish.
This came out awesome! The perfect balance of honey and mustard. Just a little more mustard than honey is the perfect balance in case you were wondering.
Because I used a bunch of coarsly ground mustard seeds, the "risotto juice" formed into a beautiful mustard sauce with a rustic feel, reminiscent of the "mustardo" sauce that's all the rage in classy restaurants these days.
In the pan goes sliced chicken. Brown it up and take it out. Add some olive oil, onion and carrot. Cook a few minutes. Add garlic and 2 teaspoons each of yellow and black mustard seeds, coarsely ground. After about 2 minutes, toss in a few cups of pearled barley and stir until everything is coated with oil. Stir in about half a beer and cook until it has evaporated a bit. Slowly add a ladle of chicken stock every 5 minutes or so, stirring often until the barley becomes tender, about 40 minutes (you guys know how to make risotto). At this point, the mustard seeds have created an awesome deep background mustard flavor, but you need to drive it home. Add some mustard, whatever you have in the fridge, and keep tasting to get your desired flavor. Same with the honey. I did ABOUT ¼ cup of mustard, and probably a little more honey for my 2 cups of barley. The mustard still slightly overpowered the honey because of the seeds, but that's how I like my honey mustard! Next toss in spinach, chopped tomatoes, and add the chicken back in. Add about 5oz of a swiss cheese. Once everything is wilted/warmed, serve it! Remember risotto shouldn't stand up on it's own, if you put it on a plate it should be juicy enough that it spreads out.