Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Barley risotto with feta cheese

I don'tknow why the light turned so yellow on this one...
Shouldn't this be called barleyotto? or orzotto? Ok, enough with the lame jokes. As implied, this is a barley dish cooked like a risotto but, according to Mssrs Ottolenghi & Tamimi "without the exact precision and meticulous preparation", ie a recipe right up my alley. Indeed, I don't do risotto, because it's not really in my tradition (though my Tessin-raised grandma would make me an awesome saffron risotto when I was little) and because, let's face it, it's a bit of  a pain.
So here goes:
200 grs pearl barley
700 ml vegetable stock (I made this from a stock cube. Sue me)
100 grs feta cheese
cumin seeds
canned tomatoes
one onion
 1 tbsp salt

In a large pan, warm up the oil, butter and onion. Add the pre-rinsed barley, the stock, thyme, oregano, salt and chopped tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then leave to simmer for about 45 mins, stirring frequently so that the barley doesn't stick to the pan, and adding water if necessary. The water should be absorbed by the end. In the meantime, marinade the feta cheese with oil, oregano and cumin seeds. Add said feta to barley.

This dish was more straightforward than I thought it would be. It needs watching, but not manically so, and I suspect rice has a bigger tendency to stick than barley. It's warm and filling. The slight issue I had is that it's a bit mealy. Possibly this is because I didn't add the chili flakes and other stuff which would spice it up, but then I don't think it would gain in being outright spicy, at least for my personal taste. It's not 100% hassle free, since it does require some time and effort, but definitely a dish to add to a repertoire, especially in winter.

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