2 leeks, finely chopped in to discs
150g pearl barley
1 clove garlic
Chicken or vegetable stock
Sprig of thyme
1 bay leaf
40g Parmesan cheese
Lemon zest and juice
Rocket leaves to serve (optional)
Salt and pepper
To prepare the artichokes snap back the tough, outer leaves until the pale yellow leaves are exposed. Trim the tough top part of the artichoke then the stalk then place the artichokes in water and lemon juice to stop them from browning.
Par-boil the pearl barley for 15 minutes in a pan with some salted water. In the meantime take a pan and sweat the leeks in some olive oil with some salt, the thyme and bay leaf. The idea here is to soften the vegetables without colouring them so a low heat is best. Sweat the leeks in this way for at least 20 minutes (to draw out as much flavour as possible).
Add the grated garlic, stirring to cook it out. Then add the par-boiled pearl barley, some stock and some pepper and cook until the pearl barley is tender. Add ladleful’s of stock at a time whilst stirring the pearl barley occasionally to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom of the pan. This will help the pearl barley absorb the stock and will intensify the flavour of the “risotto”.
Slice the artichokes, then in a large frying pan sautée them in some olive oil with salt and pepper, set aside.
Once the pearl barley is cooked, add 30g grated Parmesan, the zest of about a quarter of a lemon and the juice of about half a lemon. Stir well and then check the seasoning. Stir in about two thirds of the cooked artichokes, reserving some to garnish the dish. Top with some rocket leaves, the sautéed artichokes, some shaved Parmesan and some olive oil.