Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Margarita Risotto

One evening, I had a craving for margarita grilled chicken. I had two problems though. First, it's more of a warm weather dish though or at least it certainly doesn't feel like grilled chicken weather right now in Montreal. Second, I don't know of a single restaurant around here where I can get a decent margarita grilled chicken and grilling is an impossibility for me right now (I realize I could fry it, but that would also involve buying chicken!).  I think I've been making too many risottos, because in an odd flash I decided it could be adapted into a risotto ... without the chicken.  Surprisingly enough, this recipe is a little on the bland side, but I think it's still worth experimenting with ... maybe a sharper cheese next time or a little more tequila, cumin, and chili pepper.  I mixed in a little bit of sugar with the lime, but would have preferred to use honey if I'd had some on hand (I'm not entirely sure where mine went to!).

Margarita Risotto


1 red onion, diced (or a white onion)
1 large clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup tequila
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder (I used ancho)
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (Rotel would be preferred if you have them available)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 lime, zested and juiced
3/4 tsp sugar (a tsp of honey would probably be better)
1 tbsp butter
1 cup grated cheddar (Monterrey Jack would also be excellent)
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a medium pot, combine diced tomatoes (with juices) with 3 cups of water and bring to a simmer.
2. In a separate large sauce pan, heat olive oil.  Saute onion and garlic until soft.  Do not brown. 
3. Add pearl barley.  Stir and brown for 1 minute or so.
4. Add in tequila, cumin, chili powder, and oregano.  Stir, letting until tequila is evaporated/absorbed.
5. Ladle in one cup of tomato/water mixture.  Stir.  Simmer until liquids have been absorbed.  Then add in more tomato mixture.  Continue ladling in tomato, stirring, and simmering until the pearl barley is cooked, about 30 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine lime zest, juice, and sugar.
7. Add corn, black beans, and lime mixture to the barley mixture.  Stir.  Heat until beans and corn have been heated through.
8. Remove pan from heat.  Add in butter and cheddar.  Stir until butter and cheese have melted into the barley.  Cover and allow to meld for 2 minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.

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