Carey says: “The first time I heard about the superfood, Freekeh, was on a episode of Masterchef Australia. It’s a highly nutritious ancient grain. It is basically roasted green grains produced from green (young) durum wheat. Freekeh has a low GI being high in fibre and protein. This Australian grown grain is rich in prebiotic properties too which is good for gut health. If you have a look at the overall nutritional content, it’s pretty impressive. The Really Interesting Food Company (the first stockists of Freekeh and many other imported exotic products in South Africa) sent me some very cool goodies including Cracked Freekeh and Wholegrain Freekeh to play with.
I love the texture of the cracked freekeh, so I made a risotto with broccoli, lemon and goat’s cheese. Freekeh is an awesome grain to use in salads, especially something like tabboulleh but since the weather is getting chillier by the day, risotto was a no-brainer. And I have to say, when hubby tried it for dinner, he said it was ”Freekehen delicious” and ended up having thirds. No joke. It’s rather delish for lunch the next day too, just saying…”
Freekeh Risotto with Broccoli, Lemon & Goat’s Cheese
This risotto is a superb meat-free meal but also a delicious companion to grilled lamb chops. I just love the textures and vibrant flavours.
+- 700 ml vegetable or chicken stock
400 g bunch of broccoli
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
15 ml olive oil
15 ml butter
250 ml cracked freekeh
125 ml creme fraiche
zest of 1 lemon
125 ml chopped basil
45 ml chopped dill
60 ml chopped mint
Salt and pepper to taste
100 g goat’s cheese
extra lemon zest
olive oil for drizzling
Bring the stock to the boil.
Cut the broccoli into bite size florets and roughly chop the stalks.
Place the florets in the boiling stock for 2-3 minutes. Season to taste and set aside. Keep the stock simmering and ready for the risotto.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and butter and saute the onion, garlic and broccoli stalks until fragrant and the onion begins to soften.
Add the freekeh and stir around for a few seconds. Add a soup ladle of hot stock at a time. Cook over moderate heat and allow stock to absorb before adding more stock. Continue adding stock until freekeh is cooked al dente. This will take about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the creme fraiche, lemon zest and herbs. Add to the risotto and stir until well combined and creamy. Heat through for a few seconds. Season to taste.
Serve immediately with lots of crisp broccoli florets and crumbled goat’s cheese.
Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkle of lemon zest.
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Carey Boucher Erasmus is a food writer, photographer, recipe developer and restaurant consultant.
She says, “As far as I can remember, I loved being in the kitchen. I grew up watching my mother in wonder as she prepared a myriad of dishes on any given day. And when my grandmother baked, I would be the official bowl licker. I even owned a mini wooden oven and stove set and always imagined myself being a chef while “cooking up” pots of mud and grass.
When I was old enough to reach the real stove and sink, I started cooking and experimenting – from dodgy rubbery microwave chocolate cake to edible and sometimes rather delicious meals. I loved home-economics in high school and even joined a “catering society.
After matric, I studied Food science and Nutrition at Cape Technikon where I specialised in recipe, product development, nutrition and food communication (styling, food demonstrating etc.). In my final year, I graduated with 8 distinctions and achieved the title of Class valedictorian which I was pretty chuffed about. I was ready to go out into the food industry!”
Do follow her on her website – http://bitsofcarey.co.za