By Sally James
Savory cupcakes made from barley cooked risotto-style, with roasted squash, spinach and pine nuts, and given a rich sweet maple syrup glaze. A new and fun way to serve barley risotto with earthy roasted squash – perfect for an occasion such as Thanksgiving or just for a snack. You can just boil the barley if preferred, but this method brings out a lovely flavor and texture. You may think tea unusual for the glaze but it adds a rich depth to the mix.
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons black tea
12 ounces squash or pumpkin chopped (kaboocha is perfect)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups barley
1 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional)
1 cup white wine
3 cups simmering stock or water
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
baby arugula to serve
- Place the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer until a glaze consistency, about 10 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Brush muffin or cupcake pan with olive oil.
- Toss the squash with olive oil, to coat all the pieces and bake in a roasting pan or cookie pan for 15-20 minutes or until just tender but still firm.
- While squash is cooking, place barley and mustard seeds in a large dry saucepan and lightly toast the grains on medium heat, shaking pan, for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the wine, reduce heat and cook until liquid is nearly absorbed, then add 2 cups of the stock or water and continue to cook barley is plump and tender, adding extra stock if becomes dry, and stirring occasionally. Drain off any excess moisture.
- Place barley in a large bowl with the squash, spinach, beaten eggs and milk, and oregano. Season to taste and mix well. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin pan and sprinkle with pine nuts.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until set through. Allow to sit in pan a few minutes before turning out, and serving with the glaze spooned over. Top with a few leaves baby arugula if desired.
The mixture can also be cooked in a large flan or quiche tin and cooked for 30-40 minutes.
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