Showing posts with label freekeh. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freekeh. Show all posts

Friday, February 13, 2015

Sweet Spiced Freekeh with Chickpeas, Tomato Sauce, Yogurt and Buttery Almonds {One Photo Friday}

It's Mystery Box Madness Challenge week at I Heart Cooking Clubs where we make a dish from Diana Henry or any former IHCC chef that must include at least three mystery ingredients out of a list of ten. I had cooked Diana Henry recipes for the past MBM challenges but when freekeh was added to the  list, I immediately went to my Ottolenghi books since I knew he had a few freekeh recipes I wanted to try. (Freekeh, if you aren't familiar, is a green wheat that is roasted and has a similar texture to bulgur wheat.

I quickly found a recipe in Jerusalem that in itself included three of the ten mystery box ingredients listed below: carrots, freekeh of course, and almonds. Ottolenghi mentions that it can be served with yogurt or tomato sauce--I thought 'why not both?'--which added two more of the mystery ingredients to the mix. The only challenge left? Well, the recipe I was planning to cook was Poached Chicken with Sweet Spiced Freekeh and I don't eat meat or poultry. No matter. I do eat chickpeas and thought they would make a fabulous substitute adding some protein and extra fiber to the freekeh. 

 February's Mystery Box Madness Ingredients:

*Freekeh or Bulgur Wheat
Sausage (any kind)
Basil (fresh, dry, any kind)

Since the recipe practices the technique of poaching meat or poultry in broth and then using that broth to cook grains, I just omitted the broth-making steps, transferred the cinnamon and carrots from the poaching broth to the freekeh, and used my own garlic veggie stock. Since I changed the ingredients and method quite a bit, I am writing out the recipe below with my changes. You can take a look at the original recipe on Ottolenghi's website here. I also made a Tomato Sauce recipe from Jerusalem (the one used in Cod Cakes in Tomato Sauce) and listed that recipe below.

Sweet Spiced Freekeh
Adapted Heavily From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi 
(Serves 2 Very Generously)

2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into slices
1 large onions
1 Tbsp olive oil

2 long cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

1 cups cracked freekeh 
about 1 1/2 cups canned or cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley 

To  Serve: Greek Yogurt and Tomato Sauce: See recipe below. 

Slice onion and carrot very thinly and place in a medium saucepan with the olive oil. Fry over medium-low heat for 12 to 15 minutes, until the onion turns golden brown and soft. Add spices and cook for a minute or two until fragrant. Add freekeh, chickpeas and veggie broth, stir, and bring to a boil. Cover pan and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer gently for about 20 minutes. Stir gently, remove from heat and let sit covered for another 20 minutes.

Remove the leaves from the parsley bunch and chop coarsely. Add it to the cooked freekeh, mixing it in with a fork. Taste for seasoning and add salt and freshly ground black pepper as needed.

When ready to serve, place butter, sliced almonds and a little salt into a small frying pan and fry until golden brown--being careful not to burn almonds. Spoon freekeh mixture into dishes or onto one platter. Top with a scoop each of Greek Yogurt and Tomato Sauce. Garnish the with buttered almonds and serve. 


Tomato Sauce
Adapted Slightly From Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi
(Makes about 1 1/2 cups)

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground coriander
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (14 oz) can chopped tomatoes
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
1 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp superfine sugar
salt and fresh ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add spices and onion and cook for 8-10 minutes, until onion is completely soft. Add white wine and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, chile, garlic, sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for about 15 minutes, until very thick. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. (Note: I wanted a smoother sauce so I used the immersion blender to blend up the tomatoes and onions.) 

OK, I am going to have to re-name One Photo Friday since I snuck in another shot once again. This dish was too pretty not to see another view. ;-) 
Maybe Two Photo Friday, or iPhone Photo-Friday???

Notes/Results: I ended up extremely pleased with this dish--such great flavors and so satisfying. Warning--buttery almonds are majorly addicting--beware! But they are so worth it. The combination of the freekeh with the beans and sweet carrots with the slightly spicy warm tomato sauce, cooling Greek yogurt and crunchy, buttery almonds is fabulous. As mentioned, the carrots and cinnamon were originally in the poaching broth for the chicken that the freekeh is cooked in--but I am glad I included them in cooking of the freekeh for their sweeter notes. The original recipe also included allspice in the freekeh. I am just not a big fan of the flavor so I subbed in ground cumin instead. If you eat chicken, try Ottolenghi's original recipe--I am sure it is fabulous. If you want a vegan dish, leave off the yogurt and toast the almonds in oil or non-dairy margarine and you are all set. But for me, I loved how my changes made this dish turn out and I would definitely make it again.   

You can see what mystery ingredients, recipes and chefs other participants chose for February's Mystery Box Madness Challenge by checking out the picture links on the post at the IHCC website.

{One Photo Friday: Since I normally drag out my big camera and gear, take a bunch of photos of my recipes, and then spend time obsessing over them--I decided that for Fridays, I'll simplify by posting a recipe or something interesting and then just take (usually) one photo of it with my iPhone--no muss/no fuss.} 

Happy Aloha Friday!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Freekeh with Greens, Fennel and Chile: A Happy, Healthy Dish for the New Year!

Are you a resolution person? Although I am not a big believer in setting a bunch of goals in January that usually don't last the month, the new year is a time of renewal. And, it's always a good time to stop the holiday eating 'madness' and get something healthy into your body. Something like this Freekeh with Greens, Fennel and Chile, adapted from a recipe from Diana Henry's Plenty. A healthy dish that could be a main dish with perhaps some beans or meaty mushrooms added, but works perfectly as a side dish when paired with some simple pan-grilled salmon. 

This was meant to be Farro with Greens, Fennel and Chile but although I was positive I had a package of farro in the pantry, when I went to make this dish it was not to be found. (Maybe my resolution should be to clean and inventory my pantry?!) Although I think this dish would be delightful with nuttier, chewier farro as Henry intended, it will work with any of your favorite grains. It goes well with the freekeh I had in my cupboard and requires less cooking time than with the farro--always a bonus. I made a few other changes to the recipe--noted in red below.

Diana Henry says, "If you think healthy food is punishingly dull, try this. It's spicy, nutty, leafy, and glossy with olive oil. Delicious.

Freekeh with Greens, Fennel, and Chile 
Adapted from Plenty by Diana Henry
(Serves 4)

4 Tbsp olive oil (I reduced to 2 Tbsp)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
(I added 2 medium fennel bulbs, finely chopped)
3/4 cup farro (I used freekeh)
about 3 cups chicken/veggie stock or water (I used 2 cups mixed veggie broth & water)
1 fresh red chile, seeded and chopped, (or to taste)
3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 small Savoy cabbage, (about 9 oz), leaves shredded (I used Napa cabbage)
3 oz frisée and arugula leaves (I used 4 oz baby arugula)
salt and pepper to taste
extra-virgin olive oil to serve
(I added about 1oz Marcona almonds, chopped)

Heat half the olive oil in a saucepan and add the onion and celery (and fennel). Cook over medium heat until soft but not colored. Stir in the farro (freekeh) and a enough water to come about 1 1/2 inches above the level of the grain. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 35 minutes (35 minutes for farro, about 20 minutes for freekeh) or until the grain is tender but with bite. Try not to stir; you don't want to release any starch. The liquid will be absorbed; if it gets too dry, add water.

Heat remaining oil in a large frying pan. Add chile, garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 2 minutes or until garlic is soft. Add the cabbage and a splash of water, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes over medium-low heat, until cabbage wilts. Uncover, add the other greens and wilt for about 1 minute. Add the cooked grain mixture, season well, increase the heat and stir.

To serve, place in a heated serving dish and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil. (Top with chopped almonds or other nuts if desired.)   

Notes/Results: A very pleasing dish, really a warm grain salad. I like the heartiness of the freekeh, mixed with the slight bitterness of the baby arugula and milder Napa cabbage. The bites of red chile, garlic, and fennel seed are a nice touch, as are the pieces of fennel I added. I felt like it needed a bit of crunch so I added a scattering of toasted Marcona almonds on top. Reducing the olive oil a bit reduces the calories and it wasn't missed--especially with the nuts on top. Besides enjoying it with the salmon, I stirred some chickpeas into the leftovers and ate them as more of a main dish. Healthy and tastes great--I would make it again.

This post is linking up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this week's theme is Happy, Healthy!--good for you dishes that taste great and make your belly happy. You can see what everyone made by checking out the picture links on the post.

Have a Happy & Healthy 2015!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Ottolenghi's Spicy Chickpea and Freekeh Soup with Herby Creamed Feta Paste: Warm and Spicy Goodness for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I rarely open a new cookbook and start from the beginning. Usually I immediately head for the soups--especially when it comes to Yotam Ottolenghi, who is the master of combining ingredients and flavors into truly fabulous soups. So when I received my copy of Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi, I went right to the Simmer section where this Spicy Chickpea and Bulgur Soup caught my eye.

I made a couple of small changes--subbing the bulgur for freekeh (a roasted green wheat) because I have a large bag from Costco that needs using up, and swapping in Greek yogurt for the crème fraîche in the feta paste (cheaper and more protein). Otherwise, I left Ottolenghi's recipe alone and ended up with a hearty, warm, and spicy soup masterpiece.

Ottolenghi says, "This simple and soothing soup, minus the optional feta paste, can most likely be made with ingredients you already have in your cupboards and fridge (and if you don't have some celery stalks and a couple of carrots regularly lying around in your fridge, plus a jar of good harissa, I highly recommend that you do: they form a good base of some of my favorite sauces). The dairy-free soup works well without the paste, but a spoonful on top elevates a midweek supper into something pretty special."

Spicy Chickpea and Bulgur Soup
Adapted from Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi
(Serves 4-6)

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 small onions, cut into 3/8-inch/1-cm dice
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/8-inch/1-cm dice
4 celery stalks, cut into 3/8-inch/1-cm dice
2 Tbsp harissa paste, or to taste
1 tsp freshly ground cumin
1 tsp freshly ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp whole caraway seeds
2 1/2 cups/500 g drained cooked chickpeas (canned are fine)
5 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup/100 g coarse bulgur wheat (I used freekeh)
salt and black pepper

Creamed Feta Paste:
3 1/2 oz/100 g feta, broken into large chunks
1/4 cup/60 g crème fraîche (I used Greek yogurt)
1 cup/15 g cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup/15 g mint leaves
salt (omitted)

Put the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time, until translucent. Add the garlic, carrots, and celery and continue cooking for another 8 minutes. Add the harissa, cumin, coriander, and caraway seeds and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring well. Gently mix the chickpeas into the vegetable mixture--you don't want them to break down--along with salt and plenty of black pepper. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes or until veggies are cooked through.

Meanwhile, rinse the bulgur, put in a small saucepan, and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from the heat. Drain, refresh under cold water, drain again and set aside.

To make the feta paste, put the feta, crème fraîche, cilantro, mint, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a small food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes, until a smooth, creamy paste forms. Keep in the fridge until needed.

Before serving, add the cooked bulgur to the soup and bring to a gentle simmer. Divide the soup among bowls, add a spoonful of feta paste to each bowl, and serve at once.

Notes/Results: So good! This is a bowl of just-rightly-spiced soup with wonderful flavor. It tastes great on its own with the slightly smoky heat, then when the cooling, herby, creamed feta paste mixes in, it elevates the soup to another level.The caraway seed is a (pleasant) surprise in this soup. Harissa paste often includes caraway, but when you get a small burst of flavor from a caraway seed, it adds a different, unexpected flavor. I started with 1 1/2 tablespoons of harissa but after tasting it, I added the other 1/2 tablespoon finding it just spicy enough for me--I feel the heat but it doesn't overwhelm. The freekeh or bulgur, along with the chickpeas, make this soup satisfying. If you don't plan on serving all of the soup at once, I recommend keeping the grain separate and adding it in when you warm the soup to keep the texture. A truly wonderful soup--simple but special, I will make it again. 

This delicious soup is being linked to I Heart Cooking Clubs where this coming week is November Potluck--the time to make any Diana Henry dish or any recipe from one of our previous IHCC chefs. You can see what dishes everyone made by checking out the picture links when the post goes live.

Let's have a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen and see who is here and what they brought.

Janet of The Taste Space shares hearty Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry and says, "And like that, winter arrived. The snow dropped in full force and actually stuck around a bit. I had a few short weeks for biking. My broken leg meant I was not fit for biking earlier this fall but it was nice while it lasted. And what is better during the cold weather than a warm bowl of curry? To keep things simple in the kitchen, I have resorted to remaking some favourites and making twice as much. ... So, please, grab yourself a huge sweet potato and make a double batch. It freezes well should you want to save it until a colder day."

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog is here with her Flu Fighting Soup and says, "Our temperatures hit 22 degrees F this week in Bucks County, PA and everyone is sneezing and hacking. I made a new soup. It's really a cabbage vegetable soup, but it's so rich in antioxidants, I'm calling it a flu fighting soup! ... You don't have to have the flu to enjoy a bowl of this delicious soup. However because cold and flu season are upon us,  we can help boost our immunity with the antioxidants in soups like this."

Debbie of The Friday Friends brings Spanish Style Split Pea Soup (Potage de Guisantes Barcelona) this week and says, "I love split pea soup. I especially love the smokey flavor from the ham or ham hocks it cooks with, but this soup from the Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread, has a pea soup made with no meat. Perfect for vegetarians OR anyone who wants a good soup! I loved the addition of caramelized onions and tomatoes."

Thanks to everyone who joined in this week. If you have a soup, salad, or sandwich that you would like to share, just click on the Souper Sundays logo on the sidebar for all of the details.

Have a happy, healthy week! 


Friday, May 9, 2014

Freekeh Pilaf with Eggplant & Mushroom: Easy Weeknight Favorite

Nothing beats a fast and easy dinner that you can pretty much make in one pan and have on the table in less than 30 minutes. While paging through Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food, I came across his Bulgur Wheat and Eggplant Pilaf recipe and having a large back of the similarly-textured freekeh in the pantry, decided to use that instead. To make it even more satisfying as a main dish, I added sliced mushrooms and dried currants and served it with Greek yogurt and baby spinach leaves. All of my changes are noted in red below. 

Nigel says, "A hearty main dish with half an eye to the Middle East. It is also an excellent accompaniment to broiled lamb or spiced chicken. ... The consistency should be slightly runny, like a risotto. Add a minced clove of garlic with the onion if that takes your fancy.

Freekeh Pilaf with Eggplant & Mushroom 
Adapted from Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater
(Serves 4 as side / 2 as main)

4 Tbsp olive oil (I reduced to 2)
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 small onion, sliced
(I added 2 garlic cloves, finely minced)
2 small eggplants, cut into 1-inch cubes (I used 2 Japanese eggplants)
(I added about 1 1/2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced) 
1 1/3 cups bulgur wheat (I used freekeh)
1 1/4 cups vegetable stock or water (1 used 1 1/2 cups mushroom broth)
(I added 1/4 cup dried currants)
2 Tbsp (toasted) pine nuts 
1 Tbsp minced fresh mint (I used 3 Tbsp)
salt & black pepper to taste
(I served it over baby spinach leaves, topped with plain Greek yogurt)

Warm the olive oil, with a bay leaf if you have one, in a large pan. Add the onion and cook till it starts to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add the (garlic,) eggplant cubes (and mushrooms) and cook over medium heat, adding a drop more oil if necessary, until tender, about 4 minutes. 

Tip in the bulgur wheat. Stir. Pour in the stock. If you are using fresh stock or water, add salt to taste. Simmer (partially covered) for 10 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated. (Add currants a few minutes before cooking is finished.) Once liquid has evaporated, remove from heat and stir in pine nuts and mint. Taste for seasoning and serve. (I served it on a bed of baby spinach and dolloped plain Greek Yogurt on top.)  

Notes/Results: This was just a really simple but good dinner. The meaty mushrooms and eggplant, along with the chewy freekeh made it satisfying as a main dish and the mushroom broth added good flavor. I added the currants because I had some left from this wonderful kale salad and liked how they paired with the pine nuts in it. In this dish, they add that little bit of sweet/tangy that gives a pop of flavor along with the cooling mint. You could of course sub any combination of grains, veggies, nuts and dried fruit in this and it would be great. I like to put my spinach on the bottom of the bowl and let the hot food slightly steam it but you could also add it in at the end of the cooking time. The yogurt adds a touch more protein and is nice stirred into the mix.I added extra mint but next time I might also try adding some sumac or za'atar to the mix--and I would recommend adding some spices if you don't have a well-flavored stock or broth. It all cooks in one big pan--except for the fact that I toasted the pine nuts (a must in my opinion) in a small pan while it cooked. Easy, healthy comfort food, I will make this again. 

The theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Weeknight Favorites--easy dinners perfect for a weeknight. You can see what everyone made by clicking on the picture links at the post.

Book Giveaway!!! If you are a U.S./Canada reader and are interested in healthier eating and curbing your cravings for less-healthy foods, I am giving away a great new book; The 3-Day Reset: Restore Your Cravings for Healthy Food in Three Easy, Empowering Days by Pooja Mottl. You can see more info on the book and enter to win on the post here.  

Happy Aloha Friday!