An ancient grain with a nutty texture freekeh is most delicious when cooked in broth.You can use either chicken or beef broth for this and both work well. Cooked slowly the freekeh absorbs all the rich flavour of the broth giving it an almost smoky taste. I’ve paired it with roasted beetroots and salty feta. Beetroots are wonderful roasted especially when they gain a little caramelised char. You can use red, golden or purple for this. I like to use a mix to add to the colour. Feel free to sub in another herb in the place of the mint too. Basil is also a nice combination.
Serves: 4 people
Time: 1 hour soaking, 1 hour cooking
* indicates optional ingredients
1 shallot or 1/4 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
200g wholegrain freekeh
2 pouches Bone Broth (chicken or beef)
4-5 mixed beetroots (golden, red, purple)
4 spring onions
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon whole coriander seed crushed in a pestle and mortar (or 1/2 teaspoon ready ground coriander)
6 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 small bunch of mint, leaves only
100g feta cheese
Begin by soaking your freekeh. I like to leave it for an hour but 15 minutes will befine. Rinse it thoroughly under cold water to remove the starch.The next morning, put 2 tablespoons of ghee in a small saucepan, and heat up slowly, in preparation for the tempering at the end
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Place your shallot and garlic in a large saucepan with a splash of oil and water and allow them to soften for five minutes.
Add your soaked and drained freekeh along with your broth of choice. Bring to the boil and allow to bubble for about five minutes before reducing to a simmer and allowing to cook for a further 40 minutes or until your freekeh has cooked. You may need to drain off a little broth.
Whilst your freekeh is cooking prepare your beetroot and spring onions. Wash and scrub your beets well before slicing them into roughly 1cm pieces. Trim any rooty bits from your spring onions and place both on a baking tray
Give your beetroots and spring onions a good drizzle of olive oil before using your hands to give them an even coating. Arrange the beets flat on the baking tray. It doesn’t matter if they overlap a little. Sprinkle over the mixed spice and some sea salt and pepper. Lastly lay your spring onions over the top or where there is space.
Cook for 25-30 minutes until your beets have gained some colour and have started to char a little around the edges. Your onions should be soft and browned.
Combine all your dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk using a small fork. Finely chop your mint leaves.
When your freekeh has cooked allow it to cool slightly. Divide your roasted beets in half and roughly chop one half. Be careful as they will still be hot. Add these chopped beets, along with your dressing and give everything a good toss.
Before serving crumble in half of your feta and half your mint. Stir again lightly before dividing onto serving plates or one large plate arranging the remaining beetroots and spring onion on top. Finish by crumbling over your remaining feta and mint leaves.
Note: If you are serving this cold allow everything to cool completely before assembling. Your mint will stay perkier this way. The dish is delicious both hot or cold.