Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes, and Preserved Lemon

It doesn't matter where you go or get to in life, in my world getting published in Martha Stewart Living is always a thrill. She's an icon, and her pages has inspired so much beautiful living. In this month's April issue (with the gorgeous red + white painted eggs on the cover), is my first ever Living piece, one I developed last spring out of the inspiring greens (Tuscan kale, purslane, sorrel, mustard greens, mache and arugula) I plant in our garden each year. 

The leading recipe, pictured here, Barley Risotto with Swiss Chard, Radishes and Preserved Lemon, is beloved in two senses. First, it stars my very favorite spring ingredient: tiny pert radishes, and Swiss chard, the two things I pick first from my garden each year. Second, it is one of the first recipes I developed for my new book, Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite

And then there is the dreamy combination of photos by Con Poulos and styling by Susie Theodorou, two uber talents who make me want to run every meal I create through their creative lens and put it to print. They make this, and the other six images on these pages sing. 

Thank you Lady Martha, for sharing a few of your pages with my recipes this month


This modern, vegetable-lover’s risotto is made with barley, a homey whole grain that is easy to love, and one that will love you back with extra iron and minerals. Bright radishes and tart preserved lemon, both bold in texture and flavor, soften into the creamy texture of barley that’s been cooked like risotto. When the season changes from spring to late summer, make this again with multicolored young carrots instead of radishes.

4½ cups/1 L vegetable stock (see recipe below) or water
2 tbsp unsalted butter or extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup/200 g pearl barley, rinsed
8 to 10 small radishes
1 bunch Swiss chard, stemmed and torn into large pieces
1 preserved lemon, seeded and thinly sliced
Sea salt
Small handful fresh dill, coarsely chopped
8 large fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped or torn

Bring the stock to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low to keep warm. Heat the butter in another medium saucepan over low heat. Add the barley and stir to coat, toasting it lightly in the butter. Add 2 cups/480 ml of the stock and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the stock is mostly absorbed, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes.

Add the radishes and remaining stock, ½ cup/120 ml at a time, stirring frequently, until the barley is tender, about 45 minutes. Add the chard and stir until wilted, about 5 minutes. Stir in the preserved lemon and add up to ¾ tsp salt, depending on how salty your broth or lemons are.

Remove from the heat. Stir in the dill and mint. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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New York City, United States
Sarah Copeland is a food and lifestyle expert, and the author of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite, and The Newlywed Cookbook. She is the Food Director at Real Simple magazine, and has appeared in numerous national publications including Saveur, Health, Fitness, Shape, Martha Stewart Living and Food & Wine magazines. As a passionate gardener, Sarah's Edible Living philosophy aims to inspire good living through growing, cooking and enjoying delicious, irresistible whole foods. She thrives on homegrown veggies, stinky cheese and chocolate cake. Sarah lives in New York with her husband and their young daughter.