Pearl Barley Risotto. Orsoto.

orsoto-8Recepie for Pearl Barley.

St Catherine’s Day, Kadripäev, Nov 25 has been named after St Catherine, the patron saint of sheep. The mores and songs of St Catherine’s Day were very similar to the mores of St Martin’s Day.
St Catherine’s Day was probably an ancient holiday, the beginning of women’s wintry handicraft was celebrated. During the winter, the women had to spin yard and thread from wool and flax and knit fabric and clothes for the whole family.
Kadrisandid, kadrid were dressed as beautiful women and at the beginning, only the women did it, later the men dressed as women joined. The kadrisandid made them beautiful using white clothes, sheets and adornments. The ritual visit was done, singing. At first, behind the door they asked to be let in, singing.
Sometimes it was checked if the household was clean and if the children could read. Then danced and asked for bounties (food), singing. At last they thanked and wished luck, e.g. good corn, suitors for the daughter of the family.

They cursed the family if the door was not opened and they were not let in, e.g. they wished the family illnesses, hunger and other bad fortune.(text by Taive Särg)

Pearled Barley Risotto. Orsoto.

  • Servings: 4
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Pearled Barley Risotto. Orsoto.

For ancient Estonians was Pearled Barley very important. Not matter what event- Baby Showers or Kadripäev, Pearled Barley was main present. It symbolized money, love, happiness…:)


  • NB! If you are using not pre-cooked, but natural barley. Leave for 24 Hour in cold water to swell.
  • 225 g Pearled Barley
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely choped
  • 1 onion, finely choped
  • 50 g butter
  • 100 ml white wine
  • 700 ml stock
  • 50 g grated hard cheese
  • Thyme


  1. Preheat oven
  2. In a separate pan, melt the butter, add the onions, thyme and garlic, and fry very
  3. slowly for about 15 minutes without colouring. When the vegetables have softened, add the barley and turn up the heat.
  4. Add the wine and keep stirring
  5. Once the wine has cooked into the barley, add hot stock
  6. Pour barley in to the oven pot and cover oven pot with lid
  7. Bake in to the oven 180 C ca 30-40 minute
  8. Taste the barley — is it cooked? Add the cheese. Stir well. Place a lid on the pot and allow to sit for 2 minutes.


Soundtrack Metsatöll ” Oma laulu ei leia ma üles”


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