Artichoke Freekeh Risotto

1 1/2 cups (220 g) freekeh (cracked, not whole)
4 1/2 cups (1.05 l) chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, peeled and diced
1/2 cup (75 g) diced bacon
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/4 cup (60 ml) dry white wine
2 cups (450 g) sliced artichokes
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
2 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
zest of one lemon, unsprayed or organic
3/4 cup (70 g) grated Parmesan or Pecorino cheese
1. Cook freekeh for 20-25 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

2. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep it hot while you make the risotto.

3. Heat the olive oil in a wide saucepan. Add the onion and bacon and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the freekeh and garlic, then the white wine, and cook for a minute, stirring.

4. Ladle enough hot stock over the freekeh so it is just barely covered. Cook the freekeh, and when that stock is almost absorbed, add another ladleful of stock. Continue cooking, adding stock at it gets absorbed into the freekeh, until you’ve added about two-thirds of the stock.

5. Add the cooked artichokes, parsley, and thyme, and continue to cook, adding more stock, until the freekeh is tender and all the stock is absorbed. Add the fresh lemon zest and parsley, stir a few times, then remove from heat and stir in the cheese.

6. Taste, and add a bit of salt or a squeeze of lemon, if desired. Top with additional parsley or grated cheese, if desired.

Variation: You can add a generous handful of fresh or frozen peas or fava beans toward the end of cooking.

Source: David Lebovitz, Living the Sweet Life in Paris