I am going through a mini-obsession with everything Scandinavian at the moment. It started when I first bought the Scandilicious book and saw Signe Johansen demonstrating some beautifully simple Scandi dishes. Other signs were an addiction to Scandi crime drama, lusting after stylish Scandi design, cravings for dill and meatballs, buying the Moomins cookbook - yep it's definitely become an obsession. So I was super happy to get a place for the Scandi menu at the last My Home Supper, before it goes on a brief hiatus whilst Aoife works on some new exciting projects. The menu was pretty much perfect - the highlights for me were the veal and pork meatballs with cowberry compote, homemade sloe berry gin and prosecco, freshly baked caraway seed bread and all the fresh flavours of beetroot, fennel, celeriac and dill (you can get the full run down of the menu here). My Home Supper is always such a fun evening, Aoife and Damian are the most welcoming of hosts and I couldn't imagine anyone not loving the food and atmosphere there.
After this feast, I wanted to make something Scandi inspired and found this lovely recipe for beetroot orzotto on the rather beautiful Scandi Foodie blog - which is, as you'd expect, beautifully designed and has a huge amount of gorgeous fresh recipes. I love beetroot and this simple dish combines it with barley, rosemary and green garlic. It is perfect for the semi-wintry weather we're having here in Scotland and it's versatile too - it's a great side dish or add a poached egg or some goats cheese on top and you have a really nice meal. I've been having my orzotto for my work lunch and eating it with my munchy seeds, it goes down a treat. It also looks very pretty on a plate!
From Scandi Foodie blog
4 small/medium sized beets
1 1/2 cups pearl barley
2 green garlics, finely chopped (using regular garlic is fine, I used wild garlic)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 to 1 1/2 litres hot vegetable stock
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon walnut oil (I used ground nut oil)
1. Wash the beets and cut out the leaves leaving a small stalk attached. Place the beets in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to boil, then let simmer for 30-40 minutes or until fully tender. Drain, slip off the skins and mash into a purée.
2. While the beets are cooking, start cooking the barley. There are a couple of ways to go about this. You could either sauté the green garlic, rosemary and pearl barley in some olive oil for a few minutes, then add stock OR just add the stock, pearl barley, garlic and rosemary into a large pan and bring to boil. Keep adding stock if necessary until the barley is fully cooked. This will take about 40 minutes.
3. Add the mashed beets, olive oil and walnut oil into the barley and season with freshly ground black pepper. Simmer for a few minutes or just let it sit, covered, for 10 minutes before serving.