Toasted Freekeh with Chestnuts and Chanterelles
Any wild mushroom will do in this recipe. If you can’t lasso any wild ones, use farmed exotic mushrooms like oyster or maitake and if you can’t find them, use cremini. The dish will be tasty none the less. Serves 4 to 6
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup peeled chestnuts, broken into chunks
- 250g Freekeh
- 2½ cups water
- 3 ounces pancetta, diced, optional
- 1 pound chanterelles, washed, cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 whole lemon, cut in half and seeds removed
1. In a large sauce pan, heat 3 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Add the chestnuts and freekeh and cook until toasted and golden, stirring occasionally and then more frequently as the freekeh gives off its fragrance.
2. Add 2½ cups water to the pan and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed.
3. Note: If you are making a vegan or vegetarian version skip this step. While the freekeh is cooking, heat a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the pancetta. Stir. Cook until the pancetta is crisp on the edges but still chewy and not hard. Remove the pancetta with a slotted spoon from the pan and drain on paper towels. Reserve at room temp if using within a few hours otherwise refrigerate. Pour off most of the pancetta fat but reserve a nice slick of it in the pan to cook and flavor the mushrooms.
4. Heat the large sauté pan over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms exude their juices, season with salt and pepper then add the shallots and thyme. Stir well and continue to cook until the juices are dry and the mushrooms begin to caramelize. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Place the freekeh in a serving bowl. Fold in the mushrooms along with the parsley and cooked pancetta if using. Squeeze the lemon over the top and mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.