You will need for 4 people
2 cups of Pearl Barley (or can use 1 cup of pearl barley and 1 cup of Arborio rice)Knob of butter and splash of olive oil1 leek, washed and chopped250g of washed and chopped asparagus1 large chicken breast, slice and diced½ cup of chopped fresh parsleySalt and Pepper to taste.1 to 1 ½ litres of hot Chicken stock or mixture of stock and white wine
In a large saucepan cover the base with olive oil and butter, heat on a moderate heat then add the leek, pearl barley and Arborio Rice. Sauté gently to soften for about 5 minutes then add a cup or more of hot stock. Stirring, rapid boil for about 5 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Turn heat down then continue to add stock half a cup at a time and stirring often allow the liquid to absorb. As absorption is reached and before sticking to the bottom add more stock. Continue for about 20 minutes, by which time the pearl barley should be softening.
Add the diced chicken meat, stir well and add more liquid and maintain a low simmer for about 10 minutes, continuing to add hot stock. Then add the chopped asparagus and continue for about another 10 minutes. If you run out of hot stock and its still a bit al dente add some hot water! Check it is not sticking on the bottom of the pot!!
The whole cooking process should take about 40 minutes. This can be hastened by par boiling the pearl barley on its own in which case it will not need so long in the risotto pan.Finish with plenty of fresh ground pepper the chopped parsley and a real thorough stirring!Cover the pot; take off the heat and leave to stand for at least 5 minutes before serving.Covered it will keep hot for at least 10 minutes.