Swede & Thyme Barlotto


Prep time: 
10 minutes
Cooking time: 
40 minutes


Cook your pearled barley risotto-style and you’ve got ‘barlotto’. This swede-studded version goes particularly well with Cock-a-Leekie Chicken roast – or dish it up as a vegetarian main.


  • 1.2 litre vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 onion
  • half a swede, peeled and diced into 1cm cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 250 pearl barley
  • a splash of whiskey, or white wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of nutmeg or mixed spice
  • a handful of thyme leaves
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper


  1. Pour your stock into a saucepan. Set over low heat to gently simmer.
  2. Peel and finely dice your onion and swede. Peel and chop your garlic. Set large pot or pan over high heat. Add a little oil or butter.
  3. Swirl in your chopped onion, swede and garlic. Season well. Lower heat a little. Cook 5 mins or till it starts to pick up a little colour.
  4. Swirl it in along with the barley. Toast for a moment. Add a splash of whiskey or wine, if you like. Tuck in the bay leaves. Stir in a large ladle of stock. Lower heat. Set a timer for 25 mins.
  5. Continue to stir in a ladle or two of stock in every few mins till the timer goes off or till it’s all used up, the barley is tender and has a little bit of sauciness to it. Top up with water if needed.
  6. Finish with a little lemon zest and juice, an extra nugget of butter, a grating of nutmeg and a generous scattering of fresh thyme leaves. Tweak seasoning to taste and dish up warm.


Photo Credit: Jonny Hughes @jonny2love
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