Tomato-rye risotto with cumin and chorizo

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup rye berries

4 oz cured Spanish chorizo sliced 1/4 inch thick (casing removed) – I used Whole Foods spicy tofu chorizo
1 1/2 cups chopped red onion (about 1 medium)
2 cloves garlic, lightly crushed
2 small bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, or cumin powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup drained and chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
about 1/2 cup water
1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar

For rye, bring the water and rye berries to a boil in a small pan. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the berries are tender but still lightly chewy, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid.
While the rye is steaming, start making the ryesotto. Have a plate with paper towels ready. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat until hot, about 2 minutes. Add the chorizo and cook, turning once with a spatula, until the slices are lightly  browned and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer the slices to the paper towel-lined plate. Remove the pan from the heat. If you like, drain much of the rendered fat, leaving 1 tablespoon in the pan (or drain all and use olive oil instead).
Return the saucepan to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, bay leaves, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and salt. Cook, stirring frequently (stir constantly if using cumin powder) until the onion softens and just starts to brown at the edges, about 3 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover  and cook until the flavors come together, 10 to 15 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, rye berries, and chorizo. Add water if needed, up to ½ cup (depending on the tomatoes you use), to get a slightly saucelike consistency similar to a risotto. Bring to a boil, stirring. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the flavors come together, 10 to 15 minutes.To finish, add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Taste for sugar and salt and adjust, adding a few twirls of pepper if you like, and serve.


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