Freekeh, Quinoa, Bulgur, Farro, Amaranth…….where does the list of Ancient Grains end? And where the bloody hell have they come from? Is it just me or have they all come out of the wood work in the last couple of years? I consider myself to be fairly knowledgable when it comes to food but I tell you what, these superfoods seem to be arriving on the food scene with monotonous regularity and I am stumped as to why they ever left it. Not that I am complaining, I absolutely adore trying new ingredients and I am yet to find one that I don’t like. One thing I do know for sure, I absolutely freakin’ loved Freekeh! What a revelation……nutty, slightly chewy and the perfect vehicle to carry the flavours of the Middle East and according to studies, Freekeh is really good for you. As it is harvested at an earlier stage of development it contains higher levels of fibre, protein and minerals than other forms of processed wheat.
Freekeh comes in various forms. I bought the cracked variety that takes a similar amount of time to cook as basmati rice. It can come whole and really, really cracked which require different cooking times, so when buying make sure you know what variety it is. I am not too sure if it is available at all supermarkets yet but I am 100% certain you can purchase it online (there is a link below and it is definitely worth it). I bought mine at Naked Foods, one of those new stores where you scoop your own.
Prep time: 30 Minutes Cooking time: 30 Minutes $$ Medium Budget
Olive oil for drizzling
600gm of lamb leg steaks (loved this cut, really cheap but beautifully tender)
1/2 a bunch of continental parsley
1 cup of mint leaves
1/2 a bunch of dill
1 tbs of toasted cumin seeds
A good pinch of salt
2 large carrots, ends removed and sliced diagonally into 2cm chunks
1 cup of cracked Freekeh
2 cups of water
1/2 cup of currants
1/2 cup of toasted pistachios
1/4 cup of toasted pepitas
2 spring onions, finely sliced
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tbs of Extra virgin Olive oil
For the Tahini & Yoghurt Dressing:
1 cup of Greek yoghurt
2 tbs of tahini paste
1 tbs of honey
1/2 tsp of ground cumin
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea salt and Pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the Freekeh and water in a medium saucepan with a pinch of sea salt. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from the heat and allow to rest with the lid on for approximately 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and place in a large bowl.
While the Freekeh is cooking, place all of the herbs on the chopping board and roll them up in a tight wad. Chop them altogether until they are nice and fine. Heat a small pan and toast the cumin seeds for about 60 seconds or until aromatic. Place them in a mortar and pestle with a pinch of sea salt and grind until them until they are slightly powdery.
Place the carrots in a lined baking tray. Drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle over half of the cumin mixture. Give the tray a good shuffle so that the carrots are well coated. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden and tender.
Tear off a sheet of baking paper and place the lamb steaks on it. Use a piece of paper towel to dry the lamb off before drizzling with olive oil. Use your hands to rub the oil in and then sprinkle the steaks with the remaining half of the cumin mixture and 1/2 of the herb mixture, making sure to cover both sides of the lamb.
Heat a griddle pan or BBQ to nice and hot and cook the lamb on both sides for 4-5 minutes for medium, depending on the thickness of your steaks. Remove from the BBQ or pan and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slice into 2cm pieces just before serving.
To make the yoghurt dressing, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to combine until smooth and there are no lumps of Tahini. You may need to use a bit of elbow grease, the end result should be beautifully smooth and silky. Set aside.
To finish the salad, place the currants, half of the pistachios and pepitas, the majority of the remaining herbs (leave some for garnish) and the spring onions in the bowl with the Freekeh and roasted carrots. Drizzle with a little olive oil and the juice of 1/2 a lemon, season with a little salt and pepper and toss to combine.
To plate the dish, place a generous dollop (approximately 11/2 tablespoons) of the yoghurt on each plate and use the back of the spoon to smooth it out to a nice even thickness. Divide the Freekeh salad between the plates and top with slices of lamb. Sprinkle over the remaining nuts and herbs and drizzle a little olive oil over the top. Serve with lemon wedges if you desire.
If you are looking for Freekeh, you can buy it here https://thesourcebulkfoods.com.au/shop/cooking/freekeh/
If you have left over Dill, you may want to cook this: https://emsfoodforfriends.com.au/greek-slow-roasted-lamb-shoulder-kipfler-potatoes/