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23.07.24 1242 [PST]

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Barley Risotto

1 cup / 200g pearl barley
2 Tb / 30g unsalted butter
6 Tb / 90ml olive oil
2 small celery stalks, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 small shallots, cut into 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, cut into 1/16-inch / 2mm dice
4 thyme sprigs
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 bay leaf
4 strips lemon peel
1/4 tsp chile flakes
one 14-oz / 400g can chopped tomatoes
scant 3 cups / 700ml vegetable stock
1 1/4 cups / 300ml passata (sieved crushed tomatoes)
Shadowcook: Seemed unnecessary, so I left it out and Iím glad I did. The ratio of liquid to grain worked quite well without it.

1 Tb caraway seeds
Shadowcook: Too much. I would cut this amount in half next time. The caraway overwhelms the paprika, lemon peel, and chile flakes.

10 1/2 oz / 300g feta cheese, broken into roughly 3/4-inch / 2cm pieces
1 Tb fresh oregano leaves

Rinse the pearl barley well under cold water and leave to drain.

Melt the butter and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a very large frying pan and cook the celery, shallots, and garlic over gentle heat for 5 minutes, until soft. Add the barley, thyme, paprika, bay leaf, lemon peel, chile flakes, tomatoes, stock, passata, and salt.

Stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a very gentle simmer and cook for 45 minutes, stirring frequently to make sure the risotto does not catch on the bottom of the pan. When ready, the barley should be tender and most of the liquid absorbed.

Meanwhile, toast the caraway seeds in a dry pan for a couple of minutes. Then lightly crush them so that some whole seeds remain. Add them to the feta with the remaining 4 tablespoons / 60ml olive oil and gently mix to combine.

Once the risotto is ready, check the seasoning and then divide it among four shallow bowls. Top each with marinated feta, including the oil, and a sprinkling of oregano leaves.