Dairy Farmers of Canada

Chicken & Mushroom Barley “Risotto” with Pear & Asiago

Our dietitians' favourite

By Anna Olson

Milk replaces chicken stock as Anna Olson mixes simple ingredients to make magical results in her Mushroom Barley Risotto. The milk makes the risotto taste decadently creamy, and you can control how much cheese you add, to keep the fat to a minimum.

  • Prep: 15 min
  • Cooking: 45 min
Yields 6 servings
chicken mushroom barley risotto with pear asiago


  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) butter divided
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 lb (500 g) cremini or button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 1/4 cups (300 mL) pearl barley rinsed and drained
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) 1% or 2% milk
  • 2 cups (500 mL) cubed cooked chicken (white meat only)
  • 2 Bartlett pears cored and cubed
  • 6 cups (1.5 L) fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 4 oz (125 g) Canadian Asiago cheese coarsely grated (about 1 cup/250 mL)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
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In a large, heavy-bottom pot, melt 2 tbsp (30 mL) of butter over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms, sauté for about 8 minutes or until onion is translucent and any excess liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated. Stir in garlic and thyme; sauté for 1 minute.

Add barley and stir for 1 minute, to coat with butter. Add 1 cup (250 mL) of milk; cook stirring constantly, until all of the milk is absorbed. Continue, to add milk, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time; stirring after each addition until completely absorbed. Cook at a gentle simmer and reduce the heat to low if needed. (You should leave the pot uncovered, but you can leave it for up to 5 minutes without stirring after each addition of milk.) This takes about 35 minutes.

When adding final cup of milk, stir in chicken and pears to warm through.

Gradually stir in spinach until it has wilted. Stir in remaining butter and Canadian Asiago cheese until melted. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve immediately.


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Nutritional information

Per serving
Energy: 536 Calories
Protein: 36 g
Carbohydrate: 60 g
Fat: 18 g
Fibre: 10.2 g
Sodium: 373 mg

Top 5 Nutrients

(% DV*)
Calcium: 47 % / 516 mg
Riboflavin: 65 %
Selenium: 96 %
Vitamin B12: 84 %
Vitamin D: 68 %