Freekeh with chicken



1 whole free range chicken, medium size (15)
3 cinnamon quills
4 bay leaves
6 cardamom pods
½ onion, cut into quarters
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp of ghee or olive oil
1 red onion, finely chopped
300g minced meat, beef or lamb(optional)
2 cups freekeh
1 tsp seven spice
1 tsp sea salt
6 cups chicken stock (the reserved water from the chicken pot)
25g butter
½ cup almonds, toasted in butter
½ cup pine nuts, toasted in butter
4-6 small Syrian truffles, peeled and sliced (optional – depends on availability)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Butter or olive oil


Wash the freekeh, remove any burnt grains or small stones. Strain and set aside.

In a large pot place the chicken and cover with water. Add cinnamon quills, bay leaves, cardamom seeds, quartered onion and salt.

Cover and cook until tender, for approximately half an hour.

When the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot, drain and cool. Reserve the chicken stock and keep it on a slow boil to use later. Remove the skin and bones from the chicken, leaving it in portion size pieces.

Add ghee or olive oil to a large pot and the finely chopped red onion. Cook the onion for two minutes to soften. Then add the mince to brown with the onions. Add the drained freekeh and mix through. Add the seven spice mix, and one heaped teaspoon sea salt. Mix through.

Add 4 cups of chicken stock while the mixture is hot and the stock is on a gentle boil. Leave the mixture on a medium heat until it comes to the boil. Then lower the heat, cover the pot and leave to simmer for 40 minutes.

Melt butter in a separate saucepan on a medium heat. Add the peeled and sliced truffles and coat with butter. Then add the chicken pieces, ground cinnamon and 2 cups of stock. Bring to the boil.

Dish the freekeh mixture (while still moist) onto a large serving plate. Place the chicken pieces on top, and then the truffles and nuts .

                                                                                                         Butheina Alnounou

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