Koftas, spicy oatmeal and lamb timballo: Yotam Ottolenghi’s freekeh recipes | Food


Freekeh, with its coarse texture and earthy, nutty flavor, is the grain that appeals to me this time of year. Heading into the evenings, this toasty wheat has a feel-good smoke and weight. It also likes to absorb the flavor of anything it shares a pot with, so play around with it, especially if it’s not a grain you’re familiar with: it’s great in all sorts of soups and stuffings, pilafs and one-pot dishes.

Mushroom freekeh and kofta with green sauce (pictured top)

This non-traditional version of kofta is a little complicated, but the end product is very tasty and, nestled alongside rice and salad, for example, makes a fantastic vegetarian option. Don’t prepare the sauce until you’re ready to serve, or it will lose its color.

Preparation 15 minutes
Cool 2 hours
To cook 90 minutes
Serves 4 as a starter or as part of a meze spread

For the kofta
150g crushed freekeh
Fine sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
200g portobello mushrooms
finely chopped
2 shallots (70g), peeled and finely chopped (70g)
2 cloves garlicpeeled and crushed
1 tbsp white miso paste
25g panko breadcrumbs
50 g aged cheddar
coarsely grated
25g tomato ketchup
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon plain flour
150 g thick Greek yogurt
to serve

For the green sauce
50g baby spinach
10g coriander
30g pickled jalapenos
2 tablespoons lime juice
40ml olive oil

Put the freekeh and a quarter teaspoon of salt in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-high and simmer, stirring occasionally and adding more boiling water if necessary, for 35 minutes, until the freekeh is tender but still slightly crunchy . Drain through a fine mesh strainer and let sit for about an hour, to cool completely.

While the freekeh cools, set a medium skillet over high heat, add one and a half teaspoons of vegetable oil, the mushrooms and a quarter teaspoon of salt, and fry, stirring frequently, for seven minutes. Add the shallots, garlic, another teaspoon and a half of vegetable oil and a good ground pepper, and cook, stirring regularly, for another five minutes, until softened and golden. Pour into a bowl and let cool.

Put the cooled freekeh, cooled mushroom mixture and all other kefta ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat for one minute on medium-high speed, so it comes together into a moist, well-blended mixture. Mold into 40 g koftas in the shape of a torpedo, place them on a tray or a large plate lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Line a large roasting pan with parchment paper and brush with another 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Heat the oven to 230 C (210 C fan)/450 F/Gas 8 and place the lined and greased tray on the top shelf to warm for five minutes. Take out the tray, arrange the koftas on it and brush with the remaining teaspoon and a half of vegetable oil. Bake for 25 minutes, then gently flip the koftas and bake for another 10 minutes, until deep golden brown and slightly popped. Remove and let stand 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the green sauce: put all the ingredients in a blender with a tablespoon of water and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt, mix well, then transfer to a small bowl.

Spread the yogurt on a large platter, cover with the koftas, drizzle with a few spoonfuls of green sauce and serve with the rest on the side for dipping.

Freekeh and Oatmeal Porridge with Crispy Fried Egg and Ginger Oil

Freekeh and oatmeal porridge from Yotam Ottolenghi with fried egg and ginger oil.

This makes a very comforting breakfast on dark winter days. If you want to make ahead, prepare the porridge and oil the night before; just add a little water when reheating.

Preparation 25 minutes
To cook 25 minutes
Serves 4

100g crushed freekeh
50g rolled oats
20g ghee
or butter
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
Fine sea salt and black pepper
½ teaspoon lemon juice
4-6 eggs

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the ginger oil
90ml olive oil
20g of ginger
peeled and finely grated
½ teaspoon chilli flakes
3 tsp Aleppo pepper

For the garlic spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
400g of spinach
4 garlic cloves
peeled and crushed
4 spring onionsfinely chopped diagonally

Put a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add the freekeh, oats, and ghee, and toast, stirring often, for two to three minutes, until lightly browned and smelling nutty. Pour in the broth and 500 ml of water, then stir in the turmeric, half a teaspoon of salt and a good ground pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes, until mixture has thickened to the consistency of loose porridge. Stir in the lemon juice, cover the pan and let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the ginger oil. Put a medium skillet over medium heat, add the 90ml of olive oil, the ginger and a quarter teaspoon of salt, and cook for two or three minutes, until fragrant and bubble slightly. Stir in the chili flakes and Aleppo pepper, then pour into a small bowl or jar and let cool for 10 minutes.

To make the spinach, wipe out the skillet and put it on high. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and a third of the spinach, cook for 30 seconds, until just wilted, then stir in all the garlic. Add the rest of the spinach in two batches, stirring well and often to prevent the garlic from sticking, then add a quarter teaspoon of salt and the spring onions, cook for another 30 seconds, then remove from the heat.

To make the eggs, put a large skillet over medium-high heat and, when hot, add the two tablespoons of olive oil. Carefully crack the eggs, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a good turn of the pepper mill, and fry for two or three minutes, until the whites are set and the bottoms are golden and crispy. Using a spatula, transfer to a plate lined with paper towel.

To assemble the dish, divide the porridge into four shallow bowls, put an egg on top and pour over the spinach mixture. Drizzle with a teaspoon of ginger oil and serve with the rest on the side.

Lamb and Freekeh Timballo

Yotam Ottolenghi lamb and freekeh timpani.
Yotam Ottolenghi lamb and freekeh timpani.

This take on classic Sicilian pasta cooking is a fantastic centerpiece for a dinner party that balances the smoky aroma of freekeh, sour cherries and rich lamb. Serve with rice and/or salad.

Preparation 30 minutes
To cook 2 hours
Serves 6

150g crushed freekeh
250g minced lamb
– 20% fat works best here
Fine sea salt and black pepper
1 onion
peeled and finely chopped (160g)
2 cloves garlicpeeled and crushed
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
75g dried cherries
coarsely chopped (if you can’t find them, dried cranberries will work too)
750ml chicken broth
40g of parsley
coarsely chopped
2 eggsbeaten
3 eggplantstrimmed and cut lengthwise into 3mm thick slices
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 g unsalted butter at room temperature

10g coarse polenta
60ml tahini
120g plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
10g mint leaves
3 Lebanese cucumbers (420g), peeled and diced (380g; same weight of diced cucumbers or regular cucumbers will also work)

Put the freekeh in a large pot over medium-high heat and toast, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until fragrant and nutty. Pour into a medium bowl and set aside.

Return the pan to medium-high heat, add the mince and a quarter teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the browned lamb to the bowl of freekeh, leaving as much of the fat in the pan as possible. Return the pan to the heat, add the onions and garlic, and sauté in the lamb fat, stirring occasionally, for five minutes, until translucent. Stir in the spices, tomato paste and half a teaspoon of salt, cook, stirring constantly for two minutes, then return the freekeh and lamb to the pan and stir in the cherries and broth. Simmer, stirring often, for 30 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture is a dark red color. Remove from the heat, leave to cool for 10 minutes, then stir in half the chopped parsley, the eggs and 10 peppercorns.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 220 C (200 C fan)/425 F/gas 7. Put the eggplant slices in a large bowl with the olive oil and half a teaspoon of salt and mix to coat well. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and arrange the eggplant slices flat (depending on their size, a third baking sheet may be necessary). Roast for 25 minutes, turning once, then remove and cool slightly.

Grease a 20cm cake tin with the butter, then sprinkle with polenta to coat the bottom and sides. Layer the eggplant slices in a concentric circle around the inside edge of the pan, so that they overlap slightly and leave a 2cm overhang, then lay three or four slices on the bottom of the pan so that the inside is fully covered of eggplant, kind of like a case of pie.

Pour the freekeh mixture into the pan, spread it evenly, then fold the overhanging eggplant over the filling and use the remaining slices to cover the top like a lid. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove and let cool for 15 minutes.

While the timbale cooks, whisk together the tahini, yogurt, and lemon juice in a bowl, then stir in the mint, cucumbers, remaining parsley, and a quarter teaspoon of salt.

Place a large rimmed dish on top of the cake pan and quickly and carefully invert it to unmold the timpani. Serve with cucumber yogurt on the side.


Comments are closed.