Mutton with Freekeh (green wheat) – a rich meaty dish full of fibre and protein.
What is Freekeh?
Young hence why it’s green, cracked wheat that has been lightly toasted to give it a nutty taste. It’s wholesome texture, low GI (feel fuller for longer), high in protein and a good source of fibre makes Freekeh a great alternative to other grains such as rice, couscous and bulgur wheat.
I am pretty much convinced a lot of our local takeaway lamb curries are in fact mutton curries, how else could one taste the meat as well as the spices? maybe it’s just their genius spicing but come to think of it that would be a shrewd business move (would it be ethical? not sure) to use mutton in place of lamb. From what I’ve experienced it’s cheaper and if you cook it long enough it’s soft, fall off the bone type of good and takes on spice very well without losing much in meaty flavour.
Mutton makes a deep, rich flavourful broth (along with a little help from a chicken stock cube, cardamom and saudi spice mix) which I then used to cook the freekeh in so that this dish is full on meat lovers territory with no vegetables in sight.
I adapted this recipe from a middle eastern cookbook. Whilst I would like to have added the fried nut and raisin garnish for a contrast in texture and flavour and served it with some yogurt on the side (you can totally do this) I didn’t have these things to hand (ok I had the yogurt but the husband decided against the idea) and the dish works just as well, all be it a simplified version.
A meaty dish packed full of fibre and protein
- 3 tablespoon oil or ghee, divided
- 400 grams halal mutton shoulder pieces (on the bone)
- 1 halal chicken stock cube
- 3 cups / 750ml water
- 1 tablespoon saudi spice mix (see below)
- 2 cardamom pods, cracked
- salt, if needed
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 1 cup freekeh
- 2 tablespoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 tablespoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 1 dried lime, ground in spice/coffee grinder
- For the Saudi spice mix combine all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee in a large pot / stock pot over medium heat. Add mutton and brown on all sides. Add stock cube, water, saudi spice mix and cardamom pods. Mix well, increase heat to high to bring to boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until meat is tender (check water level 45 minutes and if needed top it up). Remove meat, cover to keep warm. Strain broth into a heatproof bowl/jug.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil/ghee in the same pot over medium heat. Add onion and fry for 3-5 mins until soft and translucent. Add freekeh and stir to incorporate with onion. Add 1/34 cup or 190ml broth to the pot. If less than 2 cups of broth remain, use water to make up the difference.
- Increase heat to high and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes, until all broth is absorbed and grain is tender. Check seasoning.
- Pour freekeh into a serving dish and arrange mutton pieces on top.
Don't have dried limes? you can leave it out. Leftover saudi spice mix can be used to flavour meat & rice dishes. You can also use lamb instead of mutton. Leftover stock can be left to cool to room temperature before storing in fridge/freezer for a later use such as in soup etc. You can garnish the dish with fried nuts and raisins for a contrast in terms of texture and flavour and serve with yogurt on the side if you like.