Freekeh salad with marinated chicken & pomegranate dressing

Here is another recipe from my current favourite book, Palestine on a Plate, by Joudie Kalla.  I noticed the recipe a while ago and parked it.  Then, the other day, when I was thinking, “What’s for dinner?”, it sprang forth.

It is very simple but it does take about 30 minutes to cook the freekeh so allow yourself sufficient time.

I am a real fan of freekeh but we don’t eat it often enough.  As a consequence, there was a packet in the pantry getting precariously close to its use-by date.  Coincidently, we also had abundant pomegranates, mint, parsley and chives so the recipe was a perfect choice.  There was not much on the shopping list.

The recipe as published (and as set out below) is supposed to feed four.  I guess it just depends on how much chicken you like.  We usually eat one breast between two of us.  I used one large breast and made about a third of the marinade, ie, 1 teaspoon of dried mint, 1 teaspoon of za’atar, etc.  I roughly halved the salad ingredients.  What constitutes “a large bunch of parsley”, “a bunch of chives” and “a bunch of rocket” is anyone’s guess.  As it turned out, the quantities I chose were perfect for us.  The top photo, which was half of what I made, was just right for one.  Work out how much chicken and how much salad you think you will need and adjust the recipe accordingly.

If you like to eat grains (we all should) and haven’t tried freekeh, give it a go.  It is very nice.  I find it  similar to brown rice.  For those who don’t know, freekeh is roasted green wheat grain.

Ingredients:

  • 300g freekeh
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut in half lengthways

Marinade:

  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  •  a drizzle of olive oil
  • salt & black pepper

Salad:

  • a large bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 5 spring onions, chopped
  • a bunch of fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pomegranate, seeded
  • a bunch of rocket
  • 2 red chillies, chopped

Dressing:

  • 100ml apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tbs* pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbs* caster sugar
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 70ml olive oil
  • 1 tbs* dried mint
  • 1 tbs* za’atar
  • 1 tsp salt

*These are 15 mil tablespoons.

Instructions:

  1. Boil the freekeh in a saucepan of salted water for about 30 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat, drain and then leave the freekeh to cool down slightly.
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C with fan .
  3. Put the chicken in a bowl and add the dried mint, za’atar, chilli flakes, pomegranate molasses and a drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.  Mix to ensure it is all coated.
  4. Tip the chicken out onto a baking tray, pouring over any excess juices from the bowl as you do.  Bake for about 20–25 minutes until cooked through.  Slice the chicken into strips.
  5. Add the parsley, spring onions and chives, red chilli and pomegranate seeds to the freekeh and mix together.
  6. Mix the dressing ingredients together, adjust the seasoning to your liking and toss  over the salad.
  7. Sit the salad on a bed of rocket and then top with the sliced chicken and its juices.

Couscous with Toasted Almonds and Pomegranate Seeds

I needed to serve couscous with my chicken tagine with dates and honey and, as I had guests coming, I wanted something a little bit more interesting than plain couscous.  So off I went to Eat Your Books and typed in couscous.  Up popped 85 recipes.  This one caught my eye (probably because it had pomegranates in it and I have a few :)). Continue reading

The Great Pomegranate Extravaganza (Part III)

Pomegranate Gel with Pashmak

This recipe comes from Turkey: Recipes and tales from the road by Leanne Kitchen.  Its a beautifully presented book.  This is the second dessert I have made from it.  The other one, hazelnut meringues with rose cream and roasted strawberries, was a real hit.  This one, I am not so sure about. Continue reading

The Great Pomegranate Extravaganza (Part II)

Faisinjan (Chicken with walnuts and pomegranates)

I found this  recipe in Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book and also in Joy of Cooking (the 1975 edition).  In Joy of Cooking, the dish is called Persian Chicken.  The relative proportions of the ingredients were slightly different but they were, substantially, the same recipe. Continue reading

The Great Pomegranate Extravaganza (Part I)

Akeel (Yoghurt and Pomegranate Dip)

I have always admired Maggie Beer (and I mean always), long before she appeared on National TV on the Cook and the Chef.  My admiration was based on how she creates ways to use ingredients she has at hand.  Pheasant, quince, grapes (verjuice), are just a few that readily come to mind.

So I was not going to be daunted by the number of pomegranates I had.  If I was ever going to live up to my expectation of self, I was going to be able to use all those bloody pomegranates. Continue reading