Shiitake mushrooms

Horseradish Orange Barley Risotto with Coffee-Marinated Shiitake Mushrooms

Health-Supportive Culinary Arts student Emily Gilbert sipped coffee to develop her dish for last week's market basket challenge.

Chef Barry Tonkinson curates a virtual market basket challenge ingredient list each week our campuses are closed for students and alumni to keep the creative juices flowing at home. This week's must-use ingredient was coffee and winning student Emily Gilbert braved a caffeine kick for inspiration.

Confession: I’m in culinary school, but I don’t even know how to make coffee. I don’t drink coffee. Lucky for me, my husband can barely function without his morning mug. For this week’s coffee-focused market basket challenge, I started by joining him in his morning ritual. (I actually love the taste of good coffee, I just feel and act like Cosmo Kramer 10 minutes after I drink it.) But I wanted to explore the flavors and see what kind of savory dish I could come up with, so I drank some and then I was so fired up I took messy notes and compiled wacky ideas with my very jittery right hand.

Grated cheeseWith the nutty hints in the coffee, mushrooms felt like a natural combination and given that I knew mushrooms historically work well with barley, I thought I could marry them. At the bottom of our refrigerator drawer, I found the tightly wrapped remnants of a horseradish root that needed to be put to use asap and considered whether orange zest might balance it nicely.

Though I was not super confident, I embarked on a twist of risotto. Having coffee as the focus ingredient, I wanted to really feature it, not just include it. I played with adding different flavors to the coffee-based marinade and was pleased once I added the molasses. It gave the marinade a nice viscous texture, complexity and a hint of sweetness that worked nicely with the slightly bitter, nutty coffee. I’ve never made risotto and given the slowing of time these days, it felt appropriate. And while I was endlessly stirring and tending to the barley risotto, I slowly sipped the remainder of my morning coffee — another reminder that this slowness can yield goodness.


Risotto with coffee-marinated shiitake mushroomsHorseradish Orange Barley Risotto with Coffee-Marinated Shiitake Mushrooms

Yields 4 servings

Horseradish Butter Compound


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1-2 teaspoons horseradish
  • Flake salt to taste


  1. Grate horseradish with a microplane. Set aside.
  2. Pour heavy cream in a jar that allows at least 4 inches of space at top and seal lid tight. Shake the jar as vigorously as you can for approximately 8-10 minutes. The heavy cream will first become whipped cream. Keep shaking even though it sounds like it’s not moving! Eventually, it will separate into butterfat (the solid) and buttermilk (the liquid).
  3. Prepare an ice bath in a small bowl. Set the liquid aside and either discard or use it for something else.
  4. Remove the solid butterfat and submerge it into the ice bath. Squeeze to remove any remaining liquid. Pat dry.
  5. In a separate bowl, fold in grated horseradish and flake salt to taste.
Coffee-Marinated Shiitake Mushrooms


  • 2 teaspoons garlic (approx 2-3 cloves)
  • 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms, clean, remove stems
  • 1/2 cup coffee, cooled to room temp
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3-5 springs of fresh thyme, remove leaves, discard stems
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked pepper, to taste


  1. Mince garlic, set aside for at least 15 minutes to maximize the health benefits.
  2. Slice mushroom caps into 1/4-inch slices. Set aside.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine coffee, molasses, Dijon mustard, minced garlic and sea salt. Whisk together until emulsified.
  4. Add sliced mushrooms and stir to coat. Let mushrooms marinate for at least 45 minutes. Stir mushrooms a few times while marinating to mix up and allow them to soak up the marinade.
  5. Bring a cast-iron skillet to heat over medium-low. Add mushrooms. Let sit to sear and brown. Flip and sear other side.
  6. When they are nicely browned, add thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
Horseradish Orange Barley Risotto


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup hulled barley, soaked overnight in water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion (approximately 235 grams), small dice
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • 1 tablespoon horseradish compound butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons horseradish, grated
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest


  1. Heat vegetable broth and water in medium saucepan. Maintain a low simmer, not a boil. Drain soaked barley. Set aside.
  2. Heat dutch oven or large deep skillet (one that has a lid) over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons butter. Once melted, add diced onion, lower heat to low. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Slowly brown onion, stirring continuously for 25-30 minutes until brown and softened but not completely caramelized.
  4. Add barley and 1 tablespoon horseradish compound butter and stir to coat. Adjust heat to medium-low.
  5. Add broth/water 1 cup at a time. Keep at a steady low simmer. Cover and let the barley soak up all the liquid before adding the next cup, stirring frequently.
  6. When you have 1-2 cups of broth/water left, add 1-2 tablespoon(s) grated horseradish. Taste. Texture should be slightly chewy but not hard. When done, liquid should be absorbed and barley should be coated in a rich lather of thick and creamy sauce. You may not need all the broth/water.
  7. Once barley is cooked (after approximately 1 hour), add orange zest.
  8. Top with seared mushrooms, a sprinkle of flake salt and fresh cracked pepper. Add a twist of orange peel if you’re feeling fancy.

See more market basket challenge recipes and explore Health-Supportive Culinary Arts.

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