Slow Cooker Mushroom Barley Risotto

This entree is vegetarian, but the mushrooms make it hearty enough for non-vegetarians too. The flavors are perfect for the colder weather of fall.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 3 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Cook: 3 hr 10 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Nutrition Info
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Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 

1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 cups pearl barley

4 sprigs fresh thyme

8 ounces carrots, finely chopped

3 cups lower-sodium vegetable broth

1 ounce Parmesan, grated (2/3 cup)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the barley and thyme and cook, stirring, until the barley is just golden, about 2 minutes. 
  2. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker and add the carrots, broth, 1 1/2 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook on high until the liquid is absorbed and the carrots and barley are tender, about 3 hours. 
  3. Discard the thyme and stir in the Parmesan, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Thin out the risotto with warm water for desired consistency as needed. Top with parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.