How to make slow cooker barley and chickpea risotto

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If you've never tried to make risotto in your slow cooker, it should be the next item on your menu. Making slow cooker risotto is much easier than standing over the stove and fussing with it. Even with all the slow cooking time it doesn't lose any of its characteristic texture or flavor. Plus, you don't even have to use traditional arborio rice to do it. As you can see in the recipe that follows, barley is an ideal stand-in for rice.
Barley has a bit more of a bite to it than arborio rice, giving this risotto even more texture. When you add chickpeas and carrots, the nutritional value goes up even more and it comes together as a whole meal. You can even add other veggies if you'd like. Think peas, bell peppers or even cauliflower. The sky's the limit with this dish.
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Cooktop Cove
Slow Cooker Barley and Chickpea Risotto
6
10 minutes
2 hours, 35 minutes
2 hours, 45 minutes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 onion, cut in a small dice
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1-1/4 cups pearl barley, rinsed
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2-1/2 cups chicken broth
1-1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1-1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat.
Add the carrots, garlic and onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften.
Stir in the thyme and barley and cook until the barley is slightly toasted, about 2 minutes.
Transfer mixture to a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in the chickpeas, broth, water, salt and pepper.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 to 2-1/2 hours or until barley is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
Remove the thyme sprigs and stir in lemon juice, Parmesan cheese and parsley.
Serve while hot.
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