Barley Mushroom Risotto

1 cup hulled barley (soak in water at least 5 hours)
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth (heated)
¼ cup white wine (optional)
2 tbs olive oil
¼ cup chopped onion
1 small clove of garlic
2 cups chopped mushrooms
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
METHOD: Drain the barley and allow to dry out a bit by spreading out on a kitchen towel. (Just enough so it can absorb the broth while cooking). Add olive oil to a pot and saute the onion and garlic until soft. Add the barley and cook for about 2-3 mins on very low heat. If you choose to use the wine, add it now and allow all of the alcohol to cook off, leaving behind only a deeper flavor. Slowly add the broth a half cup at a time adding more only when most of the liquid has been absorbed. This will take some time, but not as long as the traditional risotto made with Arborio rice since the barley has been presoaked. Meanwhile in a separate pan, saute the mushrooms and fresh thyme in a tablespoon of olive oil until they have browned and softened. Add the mushrooms to the cooked barley and add salt and pepper to taste.
COOKING TIME: 30 Minutes