Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fennel and Orange

I've been watching a whole lot of Jamie Oliver lately, especially 15 minute meals and I'm lovin' every moment of it! 

Today I bring you a Jamie Oliver-esque menu, however this unfortunately did not take 15 minutes, not even 30... more like 15 hours (don't dispair yet! I'm just including the brining time)

I'm a big believer in brining chicken, HOWEVER after rotisserie roasting this chicken for nearly 3 hours in my hamilton beach toaster/rotisserie today I realized that it is totally unnecessary.  

Normally I brine for 24 hours at least and then roast on high temperatures and it yields a juicy chicken but it seems that is not the case with rotisserie so I'm better off just marinating in lots of lemon juice, salt, crushed fennel seeds, garlic and then going ahead roasting it on the spit after being rubbed down with olive oil. 

So cutting out brining cuts down on the prep time a lot! 

Feel free to go about prepping your chicken however you like, you could even follow Jamie's 15 minute method of seasoning, smashing it down and then cooking in the pan for about 3.5 minutes on each side until it's crispy dark on the outside and juicy, moist and white on the inside. 

The interesting food element today is the Freekeh/Freeka/Freekah, or even freaka!  This is a middle eastern ancient food, it's basically a green young fresh wheat that has been harvested and I believe they burn the husks off using fire so you get this smokey (not really toasty) but roasted firey type of taste from it, really amazing. 

I didn't need to add anything to it, just cooked in water with salt and olive oil.

Basic Freekeh: 

-1 cup freekeh grain

- 4 cups water
-1 tsp salt
-1 tbsp olive oil

Wash grains under water and remove the husks that float to the top, drain well and add 1 tbsp olive oil.  Cook on high heat until it sizzles/toasts slightly in the oil.  

Add salt and boiled water, reduce heat to low, cover and cook like rice.  
It takes about 40 minutes to cook and after 30 minutes I removed the lid to let the extra liquid evaporate.  
It does not cook like dry grains of rice, it has a bit of a sticky residue kinda like risotto (but it shouldn't be mushy or crunchy)  it's delicious!  

The box said to use 5 cups of water but even 4 was too much for me (thus letting it evaporate in the last 10 minutes with lid off) 

Another fun element I added to the dish was roasted tomatoes with garlic.

Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic:

- 2 large tomatoes
- 1/2 head of garlic, separate the cloves, leave the peels on! 
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and black pepper

Prepare a tray with parchment, heat oven to 300 F.
Chop tomato in fat wedges (8 pieces for each tomato) 
Toss with olive oil and seasoning, add the garlic cloves and toss along with it. 

Lay flat on a tray and bake for about an hour or two, flipping them halfway through cooking.  You just want their flavours to intensify and get a little browning on the tomatoes, they don't need to "dehydrate" 

See the photo below for a guide. 

Fresh Orange Salad: 

- Garden greens or "Spring mix" 

- 1 tsp orange zest
- 1 orange, peeled and segmented
- Juice of the 1 orange used above
-1 medium clove garlic 

- Lemon juice
- Olive oil
- Salt and black pepper

With fennel seeds on the chicken I went with orange in the salad. Plenty of bright fresh orange zest, salt, a crushed garlic and olive oil along with segmented orange pieces and the leftover orange juice with a squeeze of lemon made a gorgeous salad dressing, tossed with mixed greens it was fabulous! 

Begin by plating freekeh on a platter, arrange tomatoes overtop.  Sprinkle garlic bulbs around (it's ok if they're still in their peel, just pop them out and eat!) . Top with sliced chicken breast (or whatever parts you like, I love the legs but I didn't add them here although I did enjoy them with the meal!)
Sprinkle with chopped green onion and sprigs of cilantro. 
Serve salad alongside and enjoy!

Move over Quinoa ( just shove over) and leave some room for Freekeh, I think these two grains (alright, alright, I know quinoa is a seed!) are going to have to share the spotlight on my pantry shelf because they're now both my favourites!


Libellula Jewelry™ said...

Your meal looks absolutely lovely!

I love freekeh and sometimes even substitute it for regular bulghur when I make tabouleh.

Amatullah said...

Thank you for stopping in and letting me know that you also enjoy this super grain :)

Unknown said...

thanks for reminding me about freeka...i had it years ago and seem to have forgotten it...i'm also enjoying watching jamie at the moment!