What a day! – The Toronto Food and Wine festival highlighted Taste Canada’s Cooks the Books where Taste Canada Food Writing Awards nominated cook book authors and paired them with local culinary students to present one of the delicious dishes from their book.

GoBarley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain authors Pat Inglis and Linda Whitworth were paired with Georgian College students Kimberly Taylor, Christopher Sheridan and Umesh Kansal who prepared Rustic Italian Pork Stew and Barley. The students were allowed to make some changes to the recipes—the time allotted for the cooking contest was 30 minutes.

This recipe is a long cooking stew, but to be prepared in 30 minutes the students replaced pork loin with pork tenderloin to ensure a delicious tender product. In addition to the change in meat cut, they developed an amazing barley risotto that could be made in the time allotment.

Pot barley takes between 35 and 40 minutes to cook, so the students devised a quick cooking method that truly ‘Cooked the Books!’ By roasting the barley then soaking it ahead of time for six hours, the cooking time of the risotto was reduced to about 20 minutes. Here are the delicious results.

Barley Risotto from Georgian College – Christopher Sheridan


  • 1 cup (250 mL) pot barley
  • 1 carton (900 mL) chicken broth (divided)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup (125 mL) dry white wine
  • 1 slice preserved lemon(see recipe below)
  • ¾ cup (175 mL) Asiago Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) gremonlata (see recipe below)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Prepare ahead of time.

  • Preheat oven to 350 ℉ (180 ℃). Put barley on a baking sheet and place in oven. Toast until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Remove from oven and cool.
  • In a medium bowl combine toasted barley with half (450 mL) of chicken broth and let stand in fridge for about 6 hours. Drain.
  • Half an hour before serving:
    In a saucepan or microwave oven heat remaining chicken broth until hot. In a large saucepan over medium low heat, pour canola oil. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is transparent (about 5 minutes). Add wine and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add prepared barley and stir until well coated with oil and onion mixture. Add chicken broth ½ cup (125 mL) at a time stirring until all broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth ½ cup (125 mL) at a time until all broth is incorporated.
  • Chop preserved lemon into small pieces and add to risotto. Add Asiago cheese and stir well. Stir in gremolata.
    Serve. Makes about 6 – 8 servings.

Preserved Lemon:

  • 1 lemon
  • Coarse salt
  • Canola oil
  • Slice lemon into slices about 3/8 inch (1/2 cm). Lay on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and generously cover with salt.
  • Let sit at room temperature 24 – 48 hours.
  • Place lemon slices in a jar and cover with olive oil. Store in refrigerator until needed.


  • 1 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
  • Zest from 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) canola oil
  • In a 2 cup (500 mL) jar combine parsley, lemon zest and garlic. Mix well. Stir in canola oil. Store in fridge and use for garnish on any stew or stir into your favourite risotto recipe.


Written and contributed by Linda Whitworth