Just when you thought you mastered all of your grain knowledge, enters this gem. Freekeh (pronounced freak-eh) is Arabic for cracked green wheat. Although it’s a well-known grain and is widely used in the Middle East, it’s fairly new to North America. It’s chock-full of benefits and its flavour is amazing! When cooked properly, it has a smokey taste to it. Absolutely delicious. It is a favourite in my family and hope that it will become yours too!
Freekeh is simple to make, and packed with so many nutrients. You can find it at your local Costco or any supermarket in your area.
Freekeh Yields: 6-8 servings
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 C Freekeh
3 1/2 C Chicken broth, vegetable stalk, and/or water
~1 C pulled chicken pieces (you can get this from a previously roasted or boiled chicken, or chicken breast etc. If you’ve had a meal with chicken, freeze/store some and use in this dish! Therefore only optional if you don’t have any on hand or are vegan!)
Salt and pepper to taste
Begin by sautéing the chopped onion in a dutch oven (pot) on medium high heat until onion is wilted and slightly caramelized (golden-brown in colour).
Add the freekeh. This step is crucial: ensure that you keep stirring the freekeh constantly so as to not burn it. And this is going to sound contradictory (because it kind of is), but although you don’t want the freekeh to burn, you do want to toast it to the point where it smells like it’s burning….hope that made sense!
I’ll try to explain further. Because you’re not adding water at this stage, you’ll want to maintain stirring so as to not have the freekeh burn and stick to the pot. You want to make sure that it’s toasting and therefore smoking properly before you add your liquid.
Ok. Hope that helped and if not, let me know in the comments and I’ll answer any questions you may have ;)
You’ll want to stir this for approximately 7-10 minutes, until you smell a smokey flavour emanating from the pot. Let me tell you how amazing that smell is! It’ll come but you’ll have to be patient..good things come to those who wait :)
You’ll know your meal is almost ready when you start to notice that the colour is changing slightly to a more green-brown.
Once the 10 minutes are up (give or take), add your broth of choice. Traditionally, freekeh is made with chicken broth and chicken pieces. However again, for those who are vegan, feel free to use vegetable stalk or even water to make this meal. It obviously won’t have the same taste but that doesn’t mean it won’t be equally as delicious and healthy :)
It will smoke so be careful not to have your face too close to the pot…unless you’re in need of a facial (hehe – lame I know). Anyway, add about a cup at a time and stir. when you see the liquid is almost all absorbed into the freekeh, add the second cup, and so on.
Finally, with the last bit of liquid added, add your chicken pieces at this point. Stir. Stir. Stir!
when all is said and done, you should end up with something similar to this:
Using your spoon, or a fork, stir the freekeh around to loosen the grains.
You’re all set! It sounds complicated but it really isn’t! All you need to remember is: Stir! Be patient. Stir some more. You’re good to go ;)
Serve with salad, and pickles if you’d like – the citrusy taste compliments the bold smokey flavour of the freekeh well.
Bon appétit! xo