Chorizo and scallop pearl barley risotto

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Chorizo is one of my favourite foods and I love cooking with it because there is so much that you can do with it. I love the spicy red oil it releases when cooking and is a delicious base flavour in any dish. You can buy chorizo fresh or cured. Fresh chorizo when cooked is lovely and soft whereas dry chorizo when cooked has a crisp exterior which makes way to an intensely flavoured meaty bite.

I have used pearl barley as an alternative to rice. It adds a nice texture and I find it so wholesome (probably because I am used to having it in a warm plate of Scotch broth).

This dish is a bit like an richer tomato paella and just reminds me of Spain. What better thought to have in your head when eating this meal.



Ingredients (serves 4):

300g cured chorizo
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chilli, finely chopped
300g pearl barley
1 tablespoon tomato puree
400g can chopped tomatoes
100ml red wine
900ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
150g scallops
20 black olives, destined and halved
3 tablespoons parsley, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper
4 lemon wedges


  • Cut the chorizo into slices. Keep a few slices whole for the garnish and quarter the remaining slices. Fry the chorizo in a large pot over a medium-high heat until cooked. This should only take about 2 – 3 minutes. You won’t need any oil to do this as the chorizo will release oil as it cooks. Once ready, remove the pieces of chorizo and place to one side while leaving all of the oil in the pot.
  • Add the onions, chilli and garlic to the pot with the chorizo oil and cook for about 3 – 5 minutes until soft.
  • Next add the pearl barley and tomato puree and mix well.
  • Then add the chopped tomatoes, wine, stock and balsamic vinegar. Add some salt and large sprinkle of pepper. Increase the heat until the liquid boils and then reduce the heat and leave the pearl barley to simmer for about 30 minutes or until all of the liquid has evaporated.


  • About 5 minutes before the pearl barley is ready, heat the olive oil in a pan over a high heat. Once hot, reduce the heat slightly and then add the scallops. Cook for about 1 and 1/2 minutes on each side. The cooking time will depend on the size of the scallops so keep a close eye on them. You want them to have a golden coating but cooked all through.
  • Once the pearl barley is ready, add the cooked chorizo quarters (keeping the larger slices for serving), scallops (again keeping a few aside for serving), the black olives and 3/4 of the parsley. Mix well. Check the seasoning and adjust as necessary.

To assemble:

  • Spoon the pearl barley into a bowl making sure to include some chorizo and scallops.
  • Top with 1 – 2 slices of chorizo and 2 – 3 scallops.
  • Sprinkle with some parsley.

Serve with a large glass of red wine and a wedge of lemon.



The Author

I am a food lover with a passion for cooking and entertaining inspired by two very special grandmothers and a fabulous mum. I recently moved to London which has provided a plethora of new places, cultures and fascinations to stir up some underlying creativity. My hope is to share some cooking and entertaining ideas which I like and others seem to like too. I will also throw in the odd bit of Scottish flare to make sure I maintain my true braveheart roots. Hope you enjoy!

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