For those of you who like me are unfamiliar with freekeh, it's unripe green wheat that's been roasted over wood fires. It has a wonderful smoky flavor. I hope you seek it out, it's well worth your effort.
So let's get cooking, gather up some,
Freekeh, pinto beans, celery, carrot, lemon, allspice, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, garlic, onion, and chicken broth.
Dice the onion and get that started sauteing in a saucepan.
Toast the coriander and cumin seeds and crush in a mortar. I love my little wooden one, it's the perfect size for nuts and seeds. They don't jump out all over the place when I'm trying to grind them up.
Once the seeds toasted and ground and to the onions along with the allspice and garlic. Toast about a minute more.
To the onion and spices, add the beans, carrots, celery, stock, and freekeh. I didn't add water like the recipe says, I used all stock.
Once the freekeh is soft, add the lemon juice and olive oil.
Ladle up, top with yogurt, chives and olive oil. You'll love it.
Freekeh and pinto bean soup
2 tablespoons olive oil or any neutral oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
14 oz./400g can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup/150g freekeh
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
4 cups/500ml vegetable or chicken stock
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to serve
2 tablespoons lemon juice unflavored yogurt, to serve
3 1/2 tablespoons/15g chives, finely chopped
Heat the cooking oil in a saucepan, add the onion and fry over a medium heat for 10–15 minutes, until soft. Toast the coriander and cumin seeds by stirring them in a dry pan over a low heat for a minute or so until their aromas are released. Crush them in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add to the onion with the allspice and garlic. Fry for another 2 minutes until fragrant.
Add the pinto beans, freekeh, carrots, celery, stock and 2 cups/500ml just-boiled water, cover and simmer for 45 minutes until the freekeh is quite soft. Then season with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the 2 tablespoons each of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.
Depending on how salty (or not) your stock was, you may want to add a little more salt. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes.
To serve, ladle into warmed bowls, add generous dollops of unflavored yogurt, a sprinkling of chives and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Zaitoun: Recipes from the Palestinian Kitchen Cookbook
And that's that!