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Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes, and Preserved Lemon

This recipe is adapted from Sarah Copeland's forthcoming book, "Feast" (Chronicle Books).When you gradually add warm broth to barley, it turns tender and creamy -- the same texture that Arborio rice gives risotto. The chard, always amenable to grains, is a revelation, becoming sweet and almost satiny after about five minutes in the pot. And although cooking radishes may sound odd, it tames their bite without masking their liveliness. Preserved lemon, with its complex aroma and acidity, stands up to the hearty flavors.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes, and Preserved Lemon

Source: Martha Stewart Living, April 2013


  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 8 to 10 small radishes, trimmed
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 Preserved Lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large fresh mint leaves, torn


  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add barley and stir to coat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes.

  2. Add radishes and remaining 3 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition be absorbed before adding more, and simmer, stirring frequently, until barley is tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon and season with salt. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Note

Alternatives: A mix of chard and sorrel is delicious. And spinach or, later in the summer, beet greens (both are closely related to chard) work beautifully. Buy mature spinach rather than baby leaves, which reduce down to nothing.

Reviews (1)

  • Meghan Kinney 20 Jan, 2015

    I found I didn't need any salt. I would also cut the preserved lemon down to half or less (taste your dish to see if it needs more at the end.)
    Bf loved it as is though. Definitely will make it again with some tweaks.

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