This recipe is loosely inspired by the roasted freekeh-stuffed cabbage rolls I have enjoyed in southern Turkey but, because this is such a busy time of year, I wanted to devise an alternative recipe that would come together quickly for last night’s supper and which would make use of some of the stuff I have knocking about in the pantry. The only fresh item I bought here was radicchio, a beautiful leaf vegetable which added a mellow bitter note to the freekeh’s nutty, smoky qualities and the sweet-sour tang of the dressing. On the side were thin slices of tangy Turkish white cheese – tulum peyniri – which I drizzled with olive oil, some honey-roasted figs and a bowl of my Middle Eastern cranberry and pomegranate relish spiced with ras el hanout.
1 pouch Merchant Gourmet freekeh
1 pouch Merchant Gourmet puy lentils
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 bulbs of radicchio, quartered lengthways
1 white onion, finely sliced
1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
50g walnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
Dill fronds, to garnish
Lemon zest, to garnish
Pul biber, to garnish
For the dressing:
4 tbsp pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
How I make it
To make the dressing mix together the molasses, balsamic and mustard. Set aside.
Place a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the grains together with a splash of cold water. Mix together until the grains are soft and completely separated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile, using the same pan, add a generous glug of olive oil and gently lower the prepared radicchio in. Griddle on both sides for around four minutes until they begin to caramelise. Transfer to a plate covered with kitchen role and set aside.
Add another glug of olive oil to the pan and throw in the onions. Allow to cook until soft and translucent, around five minutes. Then add the garlic and stir around for a couple of minutes. Take off the heat, add the dressing and fold the lot into the cooled grains.
Tumble everything onto a platter and arrange the radicchio over the top. Garnish with the chopped walnuts, dill, lemon zest and a sprinkling of pul biber.