Whether you spell it freekeh, freekah, farika, farik or frikeh, the roasted, unripe cracked wheat from the Middle East is the latest super food among ancient grains. The grassy, nutty, toasted flavor, smoky aroma and greenish hue of this bulgur look-alike are the result of harvesting the wheat stalks while still immature, setting them afire in the fields, then thrashing and sun-drying the grains.
Use it: Substitute for rice in earthy pilafs and risottos. (It pairs well with roasted meats, sultanas and pine nuts.) Swap for bulgur in tabbouleh or for barley in soups and stews. Use as a filler for veggie and carnivorous burgers.
Find it: Global Foods Market, 421 N. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.835.1112
1 cup freekeh
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
²∕³ cup chopped red onion
1½ cup chopped mushrooms
¼ cup chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups chicken broth
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
• Sort through the freekeh to remove any pebbles. Rinse freekeh in water, drain and set aside.
• Heat 1½ tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the freekeh and cook over medium heat, stirring often. When the grains have begun to color, about 3 or 4 minutes, remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl.
• In the same skillet, sauté the onion in the remaining oil over medium-low heat until soft. Add the mushrooms and parsley and cook, stirring periodically, until the mushrooms are soft.
• Return the freekeh to the skillet, add a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper and gently stir with a wooden spoon.
• Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Adjust the heat to low and cook, covered, until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes. Do not lift the lid while the liquid is simmering.
• Fluff the grains and fold in the toasted pine nuts. Adjust seasoning if necessary and garnish with additional chopped parsley, if desired.