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Apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

This apricot, chicken and freekeh salad is a stunning summer salad. A treat for the eyes as well as the taste buds, using the new on-trend grain freekeh!

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apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

To everyone here in the UK happy voting today. Whatever your views or political persuasion don’t waste your vote, get to your polling station and have your say!

Right, back to the recipe, first things first – what is freekah? According to Ancient Grains who are one of the manufacturers of it “Freekeh is the new ‘ancient grain’ hitting the UK. It’s created from young green grains of wheat harvested at their nutritional peak before being dried and lightly toasted.” It also:

  • Has four times the amount of fibre compared with brown rice.
  • Has almost twice the protein of white rice.
  • Ranks low on the glycaemic index, meaning it helps keep you fuller for longer.
  • Is higher in magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron than other grains.
  • Possesses prebiotic properties, which help ease digestion.

Now I’m guessing you have one of these three reactions to the above

1. ‘Yep, I know all that Holly, some of us have been eating freekeh for some time, geezs get with it!’ You are clearly way ahead of me in food trendiness, please let me know what the latest food fashion is because you can be sure I won’t know about it.

OR

2. ‘This sounds amazing, why have I not eaten this before, my health is saved, where can I get this super grain.’ Well health food shops, or your nearest large supermarket.

OR, finally

3. ‘If it’s that good for you, it’s going to taste dire, let’s be frank.” Well maybe, but in this apricot, chicken and freekeh salad it’s combined with fresh juicy apricots, leafy coriander, roasted chicken (or fried halloumi if you prefer a vegetarian dish), pecans and a tangy citrus dressing. This send us straight to food heaven (and it’s good for you!).

So which reaction did you have? Stick with me, whether you were a 1,2 or 3 this apricot, chicken and freekeh salad is worth pursuing. It’s a stunning summer salad and it would be perfect for a BBQ or buffet, but also great for a straightforward dinner. It’s also great with a glass of chilled white wine on a hot day. You need to roast the chicken thighs which takes half an hour; aside from that it’s just 15 minutes prep. So more time to relax with that glass of wine before you eat.

apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

If you need more carbs with this salad (I’m thinking of Dave) then serve it with crusty bread and humous.

Happy voting! 😉

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Apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

apricot, chicken and freekeh salad

You can use bulgur wheat, couscous or even rice instead of freekeh if you prefer.
200g/8oz halloumi could replace the chicken thighs. Slice it into thick slices and fry it on both sides without oil in a frying pan until lightly browned. Then cut up into 2 ½cm/1” squares and add to the salad when the chicken is added.

You may only be able to buy pre cooked freekeh, in which case you will need 235g of it. You won’t need the vegetable stock listed below. Following the instructions on the packet cook until hot and then add in step 5.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 2-3

Ingredients

  • 3 chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp demerara sugar
  • 3 pinches mixed spice
  • 100g freekeh
  • 450ml vegetable stock
  • 5 fresh apricots, chopped into ⅛s
  • 100g pecans
  • 50g/2oz fresh coriander, stalks finely chopped, leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 tbsp oil olive
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C/395F/Gas mark 6. Put the chicken thighs on a roasting tin and squeeze the juice of half of one lemon over them. Scatter the demerara sugar, salt and pepper and mixed spice over the thighs. Put in the oven for 25-30 minutes until roasted.
  2. Put the pecans on a roasting tray and put in the oven for 5-8 minutes until toasted. (It’s easy to burn nuts in the oven, so don’t forget to set the timer.)
  3. Put the freekeh and stock in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the freekeh is cooked. Drain.
  4. To make the dressing, squeeze the unused lemon to create 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice. In a small bowl add a pinch of salt and a good amount of freshly ground pepper to the lemon juice, stir to dissolve the salt. Add the oil olive mix well and taste, add more salt if needed.
  5. Once the chicken is cooked remove from the oven. Remove the thigh bones and chop the meat up roughly. Divide the hot freekeh between two bowls or plates and add the chicken and any juices left in the tray. Add the apricot, pecans and coriander and then pour on the dressing, stir well to combine and serve.

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