Kevin Dundon's Spiced pearl barley risotto with butternut squash and poached chicken


Serves 4

  • 40g butter
  • 2 shallots - finely diced
  • 200g butternut squash, cut into pieces
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 350 g pearl barley
  • 2 tbsp mild curry powder
  • 300g poached chicken, cut into bit sizes
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 1 litre boiling vegetable stock
  • 50 ml cream
  • 75 g freshly grated Parmesan
  • ½ lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp chive, chopped
  • Fresh rocket, to serve
  • Cracked black pepper & salt



  1. Melt the butter in a shallow pan over a low heat and add the shallots, butternut squash and thyme, cook gently until completely softened.
  2. Add the pearl barley, curry powder and poached chicken pieces and coat in the melted butter, then add in the white wine, stir gently.
  3. Add a ladleful at the time of the warm vegetable stock to the pearl barley, never adding the next ladle until the previous one has fully evaporated.
  4. It is vitally important not to rush this process but continue to add all of the liquid until the barley is plump and tender.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and add the cream and Parmesan cheese now.
  6. Continue to gently stir until the cheese is melted thoroughly. Add the lemon juice, chives and rocket leaves and combine thoroughly.
  7. Serve immediately.