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Slow Cooker Barley Risotto with Fennel

  • Cooking Time:

    2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours on high or low
  • Servings:



2 tsp. fennel seeds
1 large or 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and finely diced, plus 2 T. chopped fronds
1 c. pearl barley, or short-grain brown rice
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1 large shallot, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 c. reduced-sodium chicken broth, or “no-chicken” broth or vegetable broth for vegetarians
1 to 1 1/2 cups water, divided
1/3 c. dry white wine
2 c. frozen French-cut green beans
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 c. pitted oil-cured black olives, coarsely chopped
1 T. freshly grated lemon zest
Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Coat a 4-quart or larger slow cooker with cooking spray.
  2. Crush fennel seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Combine the fennel seeds, diced fennel, barley (or rice), carrot, shallot and garlic in the slow cooker.
  3. Add broth, 1 cup water and wine, and stir to combine.
  4. Cover. Cook until the barley (or rice) is tender, but pleasantly chewy, and the risotto is thick and creamy, 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours on high or 5-6 hours on Low.
  5. Shortly before serving, cook green beans according to package instructions and drain. Turn off the slow cooker. Stir the green beans, Parmesan, olives, lemon zest and pepper into the risotto.

NOTE: If it seems dry, heat the remaining 1/2 cup water and stir it into the risotto. Serve sprinkled with the chopped fennel fronds.

Happy Crocking!

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10 years ago

Any chance the liquid measurements are wrong? My risotto still looks like soup after 31/2 hrs…..maybe it should only be on high the whole time?

Meet Jenn Bare

Jenn is the founder of GetCrocked, the #1 resource for slow cooking with over 1.5 million online followers. She innovates recipes daily with her favorite tool in the kitchen, the Crock-Pot® slow cooker.

She innovates recipes daily...

Jenn Bare is a Mom, Chef & the Crock-Pot® Girl. She hosts a weekly "Mom Monday" segment on ABC-15 in Phoenix.

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