Freekeh with fennel – big book of grains
When I was in Dubai buying spices and such I saw a large bag of something called frekeh… I had never heard of the stuff but Meeta told me it was really good so naturally I bought a bag of it. And since then it was still unopened in a cupboard. Simply because I had no idea how to use it and hadn’t really looked into the details yet. Until I came upon the book Amazing Grains by Ghillie James. Amazing Grains, the name says it all, is a collection of recipes about any kind of grain you can possibly think of. It’s filled with delicious recipes with rice, couscous, quinoa and yes, frekeh…
This young green grain is apparently the newest kid on the block, even though it has been around for thousands of years. It is made from young durumwheat which is smoked, roasted and peeled to remove the outer layer. And indeed, if you wash the frekeh and leave it to soak for 30 minutes you will see a little black shell float upwards in the water. The taste is very good; a bit nutty and smoky. Delicious for all kinds of recipes. It’s not fast to prepare, because you have to wash it, soak it for 30 minutes and then boil for 45 minutes.
The nice thing about Amazing Grains is the fact that – apart from all those recipes – you can also find some good information about all the grains out there. Otherwise I would never have known what frekeh was… 😉 It’s known under a variety of different names too although they’re all fairly similar.
As for the book, I also thought it was a nice change to read a book that is all about grains. Grains that seem to have lost their appeal lately with all the anti grain books on the market these days. The book is written by Ghillie James, English chef and foodwriter. She used to be culinary editor for 5 years at Sainsbury’s magazine and I just noticed I have another of her books which is Jam, jelly and relish
The book is having 120 recipes varying from a couple of ‘must-make’ salads to delicious desserts with grains. The recipes are easy to follow and the recipe for frekeh that I made was a total winner. I have not been able to find any frekeh here either online or in the stores, so it is apparently not on the market yet. But it might be soon! I can still remember the time when there was no quinoa to be found anywhere. You can buy it in Dubai if you live there or you can simply replace it by bulghur which looks a bit like it.
Amazing Grains by Ghillie James is available at bol.com for 22,95
- 125 gr broken frekeh can be replaced by bulgur
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 fennel bulb cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1 onion in rings
- 25 gr butter
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
- 2 bayleaves
- 3 tbps of white wine
- zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2
- 7 dl vegetable- or chickenstock obviously if you want to keep it vegetarian, use only vegetable stock
- 1 large courgette in cubes of 2 cm
- 2 tbps pineseeds roasted
- 2 tbps flatleaf parsley
Wash the frekeh well, the water needs to run clear. Put into a large bowl and add cold water and leave to soak for 30 minutes. Drain afterwards. Check if there are no stones in the grains. I've been told that can happen!
Heat the oliveoil in a large pan or wok and braise the fennel and onion for about 10 minutes until done. Add the butter, garlic, frekeh, cinnamon and bay leaves and put the fire higher
Add the wine and the lemonzest. Let the wine evaporate, add the boiling hot stock with some salt and pepper and leave everything to simmer for 25 minutes. Stir regularly. Add the courgette and leave to simmer for another 15-20 minutes until most of the liquids are gone. Stir through the lemonjuice, the pinenuts and the parsley and serve