Two Grains And A Legume Herb Pilaf
I first put this dish together to serve as an accompaniment in a larger meal. But because it was a huge success with Mrs Green and the boys, it is now served as a main and has taken centre stage at meal time. We serve it with a simple salad of tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper dressed in an olive oil, lemon juice and garlic dressing (the same dressing that is added to the pilaf once cooked). It is a dish that is very reminiscent of M’jaddara, a household favourite, but with enough variety so as to not put the two in competition. The M’jaddara is a dish that I grew up with in Syria and reminds me of those long hot days spent monkeying around with my friends. The flavours of this pilaf are also strongly influenced by Mrs Greens’ heritages where dill is often the herb du jour.
Herbs throw a huge nutritional punch and are a great way to jazz up a meal. While I am not a huge fan of dill, it works very well in this dish. The two grains in this recipe are brown rice and freekeh and I decided that throwing lentils into the mix would round it off nicely.
Freekeh is made by toasting and cracking young green wheat. It is a wholegrain and has a very distinctive chewiness to it that allows it to stand out in this dish. We used puy lentils, but green lentils would work just as well. The rice that we use most is brown basmati as it tends to cook a lot more quickly than other brown rices, so if you choose to use a different variety then cooking time should be adjusted. Pine nuts are lightly roasted in a pan to top off the dish, but almond slivers prepared the same way would also be delicious.
As with many meals that we prepare and suggest recipes for (unless otherwise specified) we are fairly flexible with the proportions of the ingredients we use. So please don’t worry about exact measurements of the herbs, a little more or a little less won’t hurt. If you are lucky enough to have access to a Persian food shop, then a frozen blend of the herbs (sabzi) is a surefire winner. If you don’t have access to freekeh, then coarse bulgur wheat is a good swap.
- 1 cup lentils
- 1 cup rice
- 1 cup freekeh
- 1/2 cup of finely diced dill, roughly 30g
- 1/2 cup of finely diced coriander, roughly 30g
- 1/2 cup of finely diced parsley, roughly 30g
- 6 cups water (if using veg broth, skip the bouillon)
- 3 tbsp low salt bouillon
- 1 medium stized onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 50g pine nuts
- salt and pepper to taste
- Finely dice the onion and add along with the olive oil to a large pot. (we used a 3 litre pot) Gently saute the onion on a low heat for five minutes stirring every minute.
- Chop the herbs as finely as possible by hand or in a food processor fitted with the S blade and add to the pot along with the diced garlic, lentils and rice and mix well and then saute for a couple of minutes before adding the water and bouillon.
- Turn up the heat and bring the pot to the boil and then lower to a simmer, cover and set the timer for 10 minutes.
- Finally add the freekeh and simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Turn off heat and allow the pilaf to rest, covered for another 5 minutes.
- In a small pan, over a low heat, gently dry fry the pine nuts until they just start to brown. Be very attentive as the pine nuts can go from roasted to toast very quickly!
- Add the pine nuts and dressing just before serving.
- Juice of 2 lemons, roughly 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- pinch of salt
Finely dice the garlic (or use a garlic press) and add to a glass jar with a lid along with the juice of the lemon, olive oil and salt, close lid tightly and shake the heck out of it.