Rich with tender lamb and meaty mushrooms, our slow-cooker risotto will have you wondering why you ever bothered making finicky stove-top risotto. There’s no carefully timed stirring or multiple additions of liquid here – just set the timer and let the slow cooker do the work for you!
1-lb boneless leg of lamb, trimmed and cut into ½-inch pieces
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1 cup chopped yellow onion
10 oz sliced baby portobello mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp minced fresh rosemary, divided
1 cup pearl barley, rinsed
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 oz Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
2 tsp lemon zest
3 cups baby arugula
Season lamb with salt and pepper. Mist a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium. Add lamb and sear, turning once, for 1 to 2 minutes per side or until just browned. Transfer to a 4-qt slow cooker.
Return skillet to medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and sauté, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add garlic and 1 tbsp rosemary and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add to slow cooker. Stir barley and broth into slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring vinegar to a boil on medium-high heat. Boil steadily for 5 minutes, until reduced by about two-thirds. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside at room temperature until ready to serve.
Add Parmesan to slow cooker and stir until melted. Stir in remaining 2 tsp rosemary and lemon zest. Fold in arugula until just wilted. Spoon onto dishes and drizzle with balsamic reduction, dividing evenly.
When you cook hulled barley – also called whole-grain barley – in a pressure cooker, you don’t have to soak it
beforehand, which cuts down on prep time. It also makes the barley tender and creamy without all the stirring you usually have to do to make risotto on the stove top.
Cooking pork tenderloin in a moist heat makes it fork-tender. Additionally, the bulgur, which replaces the more traditional rice in this revamped risotto, lends a slightly nutty flavor that complements earthy mushrooms.