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Freekeh is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process. It is an ancient Arabian dish derived from Levantine and related cuisines of North Africa. The wheat is harvested while the grains are yellow and the seeds still are soft; it then is piled and sun-dried. The piles are carefully set on fire so only the straw and chaff burn, not the seeds. In these controlled conditions, the high moisture content of the seeds prevents them from burning. Next, the roasted wheat is subjected to threshing and sun-drying to make the flavor, texture, and color uniform. This threshing or rubbing process of the grains gives this food its name, farīk or “rubbed”. Finally, the seeds are cracked into smaller pieces so they resemble a green bulgur. wikipedia
This dish is very famous in Egypt and usually they stuff pigeons with Freekeh but here I used Cornish hens so the dish is more acceptable from the most people also it is very hard to find pigeons in any market.
Freekeh is known for its high content of protein, dietary fiber, B vitamins, and several dietary minerals, especially manganese.
1-Ingredients for the cooking the Freekeh:-
2 Cornish hen
2 cup Freekeh
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup celery
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
Salt to taste
2 1/2-3 cups Chicken broth( Depend on how soft you want your Freekeh to be)
2 Tbsp butter
¼ cup oil
Note: You can add 7 spices ( Bahrat Biryani) instead of the listed spices.
1/2 cup fried slivered almonds for garnishing
A few Tooth picks skewers
2-Ingredients to flavor the water that will cook the chicken in:-
1 small carrot cut in half
1/2 celery stock cut in half
1/2 small onion
2 bay leaves
4 cardamom pods
2-4 black peppercorns
2-4 whole Allspices
1 cinnamon stick
1 cube chicken bouillon (optional)
2 tsp salt or to taste
3-Ingredients for tomato sauce to coat the chicken:
1/2 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbsp ketchup (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp all spices or 7 spices
2 Tbsp oil
1-Wash chickens with water then sprinkle some salt and leave them for a while then wash them with water and pat dry.
2-Wash Freekeh with water many times and soak for about 1 hour then drain.
3-In a medium pot and over low to medium heat, add butter and oil. When the butter is melted, add chopped onion and celery. Cook until the onion is translucent.
4-Add the soaked Freekeh and mix well for a few minutes then add all the spices and mix again for a few more minutes.
5-Add chicken broth then adjust the salt level.
6-When the Freekeh start to boil lower the heat to low then cover and cook for 30-45 minutes or until tender.
7-Reserve about 1 1/2 cup of Freekeh aside to cool down in order to stuff the chicken in.
8-Stuff the chickens and close with tooth picks.
9-Fill half medium pot with water then add celery, carrot, onion spices and salt. When the water start boiling add the chickens. The water should cover the chickens.
10-Cook for 1 and 1 1/2 hour or until the chicken are tender and cooked through. Don’t discard the broth. You can cook rice or soups with it.
11-Take out the chickens when they are cooked and brush them with tomato sauce.
12-Brown the chicken skin under the broiler for a few minutes. Keep an eye on the chickens because this process will take a few minutes.
13-Distribute the remaining Freekeh around the chickens and garnish with fried slivered almonds.
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