Aubergine, Barley, Oregano Stew

Wholesome, comforting and super sustaining, this stew is richly flavoured and perfect for batch cooking. Try and get good, relatively squidgy aubergines - the trick is to cook them until they have truly broken down and are beginning to fall apart. This is when they will begin to really carry the flavour of your stew, for maximum punch.

Makes 4 portions 

3 aubergines

200g barley

90ml olive oil

Handful oregano/basil, roughly chopped

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, diced

4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

500g fresh tomatoes

700ml vegetable stock

200ml passata

1 lemon

300g feta, broken roughly into 2cm pieces

1. Mix the feta with the lemon (juice & zest) and a good glug of olive oil and set aside. 

2. Fry up the onion and spices with the oregano and thyme in some olive oil until the onion is really soft and transparent. Add the fresh tomatoes and aubergine and toss and fry until they begin to really fall apart

3. Add all remaining ingredients (except the olive oil) and simmer until the barley is cooked through - about 30 minutes, topping up with water if it dries out.

4. Finish with the marinated feta & olive oil, and a dollop of harissa/yoghurt/chipotle paste - anything yummy.