Photograph: Karen Thomas
- 6 slices medium-thick smoked back bacon
- 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 inner celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 140 g wild mushrooms
- 115 g pearl barley
- 4 tbsp dry white wine
- 285 ml good chicken stock
- 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley (optional)
Trim the fat from the bacon and cut the rashers into dice. Set a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add the oil and, once hot, fry the bacon for 2 minutes, or until lightly coloured. Add the garlic, celery and carrot and reduce the heat. Fry gently, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and golden.
Prepare your mushrooms: wipe them clean with a damp cloth and trim their stems. If large, rip them into slightly smaller pieces. Increase the heat slightly and mix the mushrooms into the softened vegetables. Fry briskly for 2 minutes, stirring regularly, until they're lightly cooked.
Mix in the barley, cook for 1 minute and then add the wine. Boil briskly until it has almost evaporated, then stir in the stock. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the barley is plump, tender and has absorbed most of the stock. If it is too liquid, boil uncovered to reduce the stock. Season to taste and stir in the parsley just before serving.
Kitchen secret: barley risotto has a lovely earthy flavour which tastes good with mushrooms. Use wild or cultivated ones for this recipe. If using wild, look out for chanterelles, sometimes sold under their French name of girolles (July to October) or ceps (August to October). If using cultivated, use a mixture of button, oyster and shiitake mushrooms
This recipe is taken from The Great British Vegetable Cookbook by Sybil Kapoor, published by National Trust Books