Tomato spelt

Serves 4

I'm really getting into using spelt now instead of rice for certain dishes. It has a great flavour and because it's pretty robust, you don't have to be quite as careful with it as you do with rice.

You can serve this on its own or with grilled meats or fish, or a minced kofta-type kebab.

2tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp thyme or fresh oregano leaves
100g spelt, soaked in cold water for 2 hours, then drained
3tbsp tomato purée
1ltr vegetable or chicken stock
4 firm tomatoes, cut into rough 1cm dice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat a tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and gently cook the onion, garlic and thyme for a couple of minutes, stirring every so often.

Add the spelt and tomato purée and then gradually add the vegetable or chicken stock in four or five stages, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding the next.

When the rice is almost cooked, add the tomatoes and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. The mixture should be quite wet but not soupy. Season to taste and serve hot or at room temperature.

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