Bring chicken broth to a simmer. In a separate large saucepan on an adjacent burner, heat the oil and add barley. Lightly saute: you actually are toasting the barley. Add vegetables to the barley and saute them until translucent. Add bay leaf and garlic. Begin slowly adding broth, 1 ladle-full at a time, to the barley/vegetable pan, stirring occasionally: this will bring out the starch in the barley. As the mixture absorbs the broth, ladle more into the pot. When all of the broth has been ladled into the barley pot, slowly simmer until barley is soft and creamy. Add butter as the last step for more flavor and creaminess to risotto.
Recipe courtesy of "Robert, the First," by Robert Irvine with Brian O'Reilly, Harper Collins Publishers, 2006