Baby wheat – Freekeh pilaf with roasted squash, peas and lemon oil
Le blé bébé – Freekeh pilaf avec courge rôtie, petit pois et huile de citron
After a trip to Samiramis this weekend, one of my favorite Middle Eastern stores in the city, and after going through all the aisles, and through every product on the shelves (I have to refrain myself or I will buy all the store), I found this amazing wheat: Freekeh. What is freekeh? Well, it’s a green wheat, basically it’s young wheat that has been harvested at a green (not mature) stage. It’s then roasted and smoked, so you can definitely taste a subtle smokey taste. You can still see the greenish color of the grain when uncooked. The greatness of freekeh doesn’t only come from its delicious flavor but also from its nutritious value. Low glycemic index, high in fiber and anti oxidant, vitamins and minerals.
You can prepare it like you would prepare rice or any other grain. Of course, you can use other vegetables, but I though the sweetness of the squash would go perfectly well with the nutty flavor of freekeh. What really added a great flavor to it, was the lemon oil and parmesan, so don’t forget those two or you’ll lose some of the highlights of this recipe. Sometimes, I would say that the final drops of olive oil in a finished dish and parmesan would be optional, but not in this one, it really adds a beautiful touch to the finished dish.
I need to insist on using the best quality of the lemon oil, you need top olive oil with infused meyer lemons. These oils tends to be expensive but a lower quality would not work here. It’s easy to make this dish vegan, just don’t add parmesan et voilà le tour est joué!
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3.5 oz (or 100 g) freekeh
- 1/4 tsp four spices
- vegetable stock
- 1 tbs parsley, chopped
- 1 butternut squash, cut in 1 inch cubes
- shaved parmesan
Soak freekeh in cold water for about 5 minutes. Heat olive oil in a pot, sweat onions until soft. Add four spices and stir well, then add freekeh, peas, salt and pepper and cover with broth. Cook at medium heat with lid for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, pre-heat oven at 400F. Toss squash with a little olive oil and vinegar, salt and pepper and bake in the oven until tender but not mushy (about 15 minutes).
When squash is cooked and freekeh tender, mix both ingredients well. Serve hot in individual plates with shaved parmesan and drizzle with lemon oil and fresh black pepper.
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