5 strips bacon, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
11-ounce box quick barley
4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into thin strips
1 bunch kale, tough stalks discarded, coarsely chopped
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4-ounce log goat cheese, crumbled
Arrange several layers of paper towels in a plate, then set near the stove. In a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until crisp, about 6 to 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to the paper towels. Leave the rendered bacon fat in the skillet.
Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté until the onion just begins to soften, about 4 minutes. Add the barley and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and cook, stirring frequently until the liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes.
Repeat this process with the remaining 3 cups of broth, adding 1 cup at a time and cooking, stirring often until absorbed. When the final cup is nearly absorbed, remove the pan from the heat, cover and set aside.
In a second large skillet over medium-high, heat the olive oil. Add the bell peppers and sauté until just soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the kale and bacon, then sauté until the kale just wilts, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the kale mixture to a serving platter, or divide it among 6 serving plates.
Uncover the barley and stir in the goat cheese. If needed, season with salt and pepper. Mound the barley risotto over the kale mixture. Serve immediately.
Recipe by Kylerhea at RecipeThing.com.