The Health Benefits of Freekeh
Today we are talking about the trendiest new whole grain – Freekeh!
Freekeh, pronounced Freek-uh, has many health benefits and is a great addition to any meal. It has a rich, nutty and chewy texture, making it the perfect addition to any soup. This recipe is made with some of my fall & winter harvest favorites: cabbage, celery, garlic and onions. What I didn’t grow in my own garden, I got from my favorite farm stand up the road.
Freekeh Chicken & Cabbage Soup
Health Benefits. Freekeh is immature wheat, also known as green wheat, which is roasted over an open flame. In addition to being a whole grain, freekeh is rich in many nutrients. Freekeh is rich in both protein and fiber, and contains more protein and nearly twice the amount of fiber as quinoa, the original super grain. The high fiber content of Freekeh is great for overall health. A diet rich in fiber helps to improve your satiety, regulate your digestive system, and regulate your blood sugar.
*Freekeh, also known as green wheat, is part of the wheat family and therefore not suitable for those who have celiac disease or are gluten intolerant.
Freekeh Chicken & Cabbage Soup
- 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken
- 1 Tablespoon of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 4 sprigs of fresh or dried thyme stems removed
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- 3 medium white onions small dice
- 6 stalks of celery small dice
- 1 head of green cabbage shredded
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock divided
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chicken base
- 2 cups dry Freekeh
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Line a baking sheet with tin foil, set aside.
Cut the chicken into uniform 1/2 inch pieces and place on the foil-lined baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil.
Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and thyme.
Place the chicken in the oven to roast for 15 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting, chop up the onion, garlic, celery, and cabbage.
After 15 minutes remove the chicken from the oven and set aside.
*Note, the chicken may not be cooked all the way through but that is OK because it will continue to cook when added to the soup.
In a large soup pot on the stove, add the butter over medium heat until melted.
Add the onion, celery, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally. This should cook for approximately 10 minutes, or until the celery is soft.
Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the pot and turn the heat to medium-high.
Add the cabbage by the handful, stirring frequently, until all of the cabbage can fit into the pot. It will cook down over the next 10 minutes.
When the cabbage is cooked down and there is room left in the pot, reduce the heat to low and place on a simmer burner if you have one.
Add the rest of the chicken stock, the cooked chicken and garlic.
Turn the heat to high and once the soup is boiling, reduce the heat back to low. Let simmer on the stove until the freekeh is cooked.
Place the Freekeh, 5 cups of cold water, a dash of salt and pepper into a sauce pan on the stove.
Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, add a lid to the pot, and allow to simmer for 45 minutes, or until all of the water is absorbed.
Add 1/2 cup of Freekeh to each bowl of soup just before serving.
I hope you enjoy this soup and have found a new interest in some of the trendy new whole grains out there on the market. Part of living a healthy lifestyle includes trying new and exciting ingredients!
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