Cider and Beetroot Orzotto with Apples and Thyme
by eat in my kitchen
A new discovery in my kitchen: pearl barley cooked in mild cider takes this white grain onto another level! I have already used this fruity drink for risottos and I liked it so much that I decided to refine other grains with it as well. Cider adds a subtle sweetness which allows me to play around with woody herbs like rosemary or thyme, and roots! I went for beetroot as I was aiming for a dramatic colour on my plate but I also like its earthy taste combined with apples. A while ago, I used this combination for a vegetarian carpaccio with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top, it made a delicous starter!
Unfortunately I have a problem with barley, I must have about five packages of this grain in my kitchen shelves but very often I don’t feel inspired to use them in my cooking. For no reason really, as I like its nutty taste in thick and hearty Tyrolean soups or orzottos. But when it comes to making a choice for dinner I take the package of Arborio rice most of the time. Hopefully my new discovery will change that!
Apple Cider and Beetroot Orzotto with Thyme
For 4 people you ned
crunchy apple, rinsed, cored and quartered, 1
beetroot, rinsed, 2 big roots, about 300g / 10.5 ounces
pearl barley, rinsed and drained, 250g / 9 ounces
cider (mild) 750ml / 1.5 pints
water 250ml / 0.5 pint
medium sized onion, finely chopped, 1
garlic, crushed, 1 big clove
fresh ginger 1 thick slice
thyme 6 small sprigs plus 2-3 tablespoons of leaves for the topping
rosemary a small sprig
bay leaves 2
salt and pepper
Cook the beetroot in lots of salted water with 1 bay leaf for 50 minutes until soft (with the lid closed). Peel the beetroot and purée 250g / 9 ounces of the root in a blender with a splash of olive oil until it’s smooth. Cut the remaining 50g / 1.5 ounces of the beetroot into small cubes.
In a large pot, heat a splash of olive oil and cook the onions on medium heat for 2-3 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and barley and cook for a minute. Pour in the cider and water, add the ginger, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf and cook without a lid for 20 minutes (simmering). Take the pot off the heat, stir the puréed beetroot into the barley (which will still be a bit liquid at that point), close with a lid and let it sit for 5 minutes off the heat to let the grain soak up the remaining juices. Take out the bay leaf, ginger, sprigs of rosemary and thyme and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the apple into thin slices and serve on top of the orzotto sprinkled with a few thyme leaves.