Freekeh with Chicken is a Lebanese dish; an easy-to-prepare dish served as a main meal. It is full of nutrients from the whole grain freekeh and protein from the chicken seasoned with earthy warm spices that fill it with great flavor.
Freekeh with Chicken is an Arabic dish, but there are different versions, depending on which Arab country you are in. The recipe I'm sharing here is tweaked to make it quicker to prepare, and (in my opinion) it gives better flavor to this dish.
🥘 INGREDIENTS YOU'LL NEED
Chicken: I have used a whole chicken and cut it in quarters. However, you can go for legs, thighs, or only breasts.
Freekeh: I have used whole grain freekeh, not cracked freekeh, to maintain the chewy texture.
Spices: A few spices that are normally available in your kitchen or easy to get in the stores.
Almond: Although this is optional and you can replace it with other nuts, it is best to go for almond to garnish the dish since it goes well with freekeh.
🔪 HOW TO MAKE
In a pan, fry the onion until translucent, and add the chicken with the skin down. Season and cook until golden.
Leave the onion in the pan and cook the chicken in a preheated oven after pouring the hot water.
Add the freekeh after straining it from water to the onion and fry until dry. Now add the water and the
Add the freekeh after straining it from water to the onion and fry until dry. Now add the water and the chicken bouillon and cook.
Dish the freekeh, place the chicken on top and then garnish with toasted almonds.
💭 COOKING TIPS
- It is best to keep the skin of the chicken on it to prevent it from drying.
- Make sure that you are using wholegrain freekeh.
- The more you allow the freekeh to soak, the faster it cooks.
- Add the spices you like to make it your own.
- You can grill the chicken instead of roasting it in the oven.
📖 DELICIOUS VARIATIONS
Different protein: You can make fish freekeh using your desired type of fish.
Use different nuts: I find that pistachios work great with freekeh.
Vegetable stock: I have used chicken stock or bouillon since it enhances the dish's flavor, but you can use vegetable stock.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Freekeh, also called "farik" is a grain made from green durum wheat that is roasted and then rubbed to remove any chaff, then fire-roasted to give it a unique smoky flavor. "Wiki."
There are whole freekeh and cracked freekeh. Cracked freekeh are broken into smaller pieces to help cook them faster and are mostly used in fast-cooked dishes and salads. The whole freekeh is used in main meals and takes a little longer to cook.
Frying the freekeh prevents it from turning mushy if overcooked and brings out the smoky flavor.
Yes. Freekeh is healthy, packed with protein and other nutrients, and has a low glycemic index. You can replace potatoes, rice, and bread with freekeh.
No, it's not.
🍲 MORE MIDDLE EASTERN RECIPES
🌡️ STORING AND REHEATING
Fridge: Place the chicken freekeh in an airtight container and refrigerate for three days.
Freezing: You can also freeze the freekeh for up to 2 months. To thaw, place the freekeh in the fridge overnight and reheat as mentioned below.
Reheating: It is best to reheat the freekeh on the stovetop or in the oven, but you can also microwave it for 2 minutes.
Freekeh with Chicken
- 1 whole chicken cut in quarters with skin and bones
- 2 cups green freekeh washed and soaked for 15 minutes
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Cinnamon powder for the freekeh
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom powder for the freekeh
- ½ teaspoon Black pepper for the freekeh
- Salt to taste
- 2 cubes chicken bouillon
- 3 ½ cups boiling water for freekeh
- 1 cup fried almonds ,or roasted.
- * You will use pinches of salt black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamom powder to sprinkle on the chicken.
- In a pan, add butter and olive oil.
- Fry the onions, and when it's translucent, add the chicken, skin down.
- Sprinkle cinnamon, salt, black pepper, and cardamom on chicken. When the bottom side of the chicken turns golden, flip and season the other side of the chicken.
- Preheat oven to 392F/200C.
- Transfer chicken to a baking pan. Keep the onion in the pan. Pour ¼ cup boiling water into the baking pan, cover, and bake the chicken on the middle rack until it is cooked, around 40 minutes.
- Drain freekeh and add it to the fried onion in the pan. Keep stirring on medium heat, until freekeh dries a bit. Add the freekeh spices and stir for 1 minute.
- Add 3 ½ cup boiling water to freekeh and the chicken bouillon. When it boils, cover tightly and continue cooking on low heat for 45 – 50 minutes. Check on freekeh every 15 minutes so won't dry out and burn, but don't mix with a spoon.
- Dish the freekeh onto serving plate, place the chicken on top, and garnish with fried almonds.
- You can use 3 ½ cups of chicken stock instead of chicken bouillon.
- Remove the skin from the chicken to lower the calories in the dish.