Barley, Butternut & Beef Jerky Risotto

Prep Time: 10 mins, Cook Time: 45 min


1/3 cup Jack Link's Peppered Beef Jerky
6 cups Chicken Broth
3 cups Diced Butternut Squash (fresh or frozen)
1 tbsp Cold-Pressed Canola Oil
1 Yellow Onion
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Garlic Clove
2 Cups Pot Barley (rinsed well)
1 Cup Heavy Cream
½ Cup Aged Cheddar Cheese (Grated)
¼ Cup Parmesan Cheese (Grated)
1 Tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves
¼ Cup Fresh basil leaves (loosely torn)
To Taste Salt


  1. Place chicken broth and squash in a medium-large pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat. Cook until squash is tender, about 10-12 minutes, and puree with an immersion blender until smooth.
  2. Reduce broth and squash mixture to low heat to keep hot while preparing the base of the risotto.
  3. Heat canola oil on medium-high heat in a large deep pan. Add diced onions and cook for 5 minutes or until onions start to brown lightly.
  4. Add several splashes of water to the pan and continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Onions should deepen in colour noticeably, add more water to slow browning as needed.
  5. Add butter, garlic, and diced Jack Link’s Peppered Beef Jerky and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes and then add the barley. Stir well and allow barley to absorb butter.
  6. Next, add a ladleful of the hot broth mixture to the pan. Stir regularly until absorbed. Continue this process 4 more times until approximately 1 cup of broth mixture remains in the pot, this should take about 20-22 minutes total.
  7. Add the cream to the pot of remaining broth and allow to heat up before continuing to ladle the mixture into the pan of risotto.
  8. Once the last bit of broth mixture has been added to the pan, also stir in grated cheese and herbs. Continue to cook (and stir) until the greens have wilted and cheese has melted. Risotto should thicken slightly.
    NOTE: An al dente texture is the goal here, so have a taste of the barley risotto to check consistency.
  9. For serving, portion out into shallow pasta bowls or plates and finish with additional grated cheese and fresh herbs if desired.