Chicken Freekeh by Chef Kamal Hashelmon
1 flat teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 tablespoon of dried marjoram
½ teaspoon cumin
4 clean boneless chicken thighs
2 carrots peeled and cut into small cubes
2 onions cut into small cubes
2 finely-chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups freekeh (smoked green wheat) or wheat
2 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons raisins
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 cup water
2 handfuls of freshly chopped parsley
2 handfuls of roasted and chopped pine nuts
Prepare the spice mix
1) To make the freekeh, heat a pan with a little oil. When the oil is hot add the onion cubes and carrot and fry until the onion is translucent—about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and fry for another minute.
2) Add the freekeh and mix well making sure that all of the grain is covered with oil. Add the raisins and about 2/3 of the spice mixture and mix again.
3) Pour in the water and ¾ of the stock. Bring to the boil, cover the pan and cook on a low light for about 30 minutes. Stir intermittently and if needed, adjust the seasoning.
4) To make the chicken, place the chicken in a bowl and rub the seasoning, salt, pepper and the remaining spice mix, into the chicken.
5) Heat a heavy pot on a high light. Pour in a little olive oil and fry the chicken, a few minutes on each side. Add the remaining chicken stock and cook until the liquid is reduced and absorbed into the chicken.
6) Pour the freekeh onto plates, place the chicken on top and garnish with chopped parsley and roasted pine nuts.
About Chef Kamal Hashelmon: Formerly the Head Chef for the St. George Landmark Hotel’s Turquoise Restaurant in East Jerusalem, Hashelmon is a Palestinian chef who specializes in Lebanese cuisine with a twist. His culinary training spanned the Middle East where he studied and worked in a number of different countries including, Beirut, Amman and Cairo, and a four-year term in one of Israel’s top restaurants, “Mul-Yam.”
Recipe and photo: Courtesy of Jerusalem Season of Culture. Photographer: Yael Ilan