Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes, & Preserved Lemon

Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes, & Preserved Lemon

When you gradually add warm broth to barley, it turns tender and creamy — the same texture that Arborio rice gives risotto. The chard, always amenable to grains, is a revelation, becoming sweet and almost satiny after about five minutes in the pot. And although cooking radishes may sound odd, it tames their bite without masking their liveliness. Preserved lemon, with its complex aroma and acidity, stands up to the hearty flavors.

Prep Time1 hour

Total Time1 hour

Serves 4


  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
  • 8 to 10 small radishes, trimmed
  • 1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn into large pieces (about 6 cups)
  • 1 Preserved Lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
  • Coarse salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
  • 8 large fresh mint leaves, torn


  1. Bring broth to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm. Heat oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add barley and stir to coat until toasted, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, stirring frequently, until broth is mostly absorbed, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add radishes and remaining 3 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, letting each addition be absorbed before adding more, and simmer, stirring frequently, until barley is tender and creamy, about 30 minutes. Add chard and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon and season with salt. Remove from heat and stir in herbs. Serve warm or at room temperature.