My first go at this was made up from one of our secret suppers’ leftovers – the rich juices of roasted peppers, a handful of olive stones and half a pack of pot barley – but it’s just as easy with a few simple ingredients and can be made in one pot.
Preheat the oven to 150. Gently heat your cuts of good quality chorizo in a heavy-bottomed pot until the edges curl and darken and have released some of their red oil into the pan. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add to the pan a glug of olive oil, a finely diced onion, a bay leaf, half a very finely diced carrot, half a sliced red chilli and 2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic. Stir and soften until translucent over a medium heat and then pour in a large glass of red wine and a few branches of fresh thyme. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Roughly chop a couple of red and yellow peppers* and add to the pot with a tin of plum tomatoes, which are best strained and pummeled through the hands to release their flavour. Small cherry tomatoes or pitted black olives are good added here too. Return the chorizo to the pot and stir in a couple of handfuls of pot barley, making sure it’s stirred well and submerged in liquid (add a little water if need be). Cover and place on the middle shelf of the oven for up to an hour, making sure the barley has swollen to plump kernels.
Serve with a crumbling of feta and the rest of the bottle of red.
*Alternatively, roast the peppers beforehand in the oven and conserve the roasting tin juices for the pot – the longer they cook, the more juice or stock you’ll have. I also went through the slightly fussy but experimentally exciting process of boiling off the clinging flesh of black olives from their stones in the hope of adding more flavour. You needn’t do this but I was out of olives because they went to our guests.