Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms and Tarragon

by Kelli on September 11, 2013

Try wholegrain freekeh, the “new” ancient grain, the next time you make risotto.

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon

So, let’s just dive right in to the elephant in the room….what the heck is freekeh?!

First things first, it’s pronounced free-kah.  And, it’s an ancient grain, along with the likes of quinoa, amaranth, spelt, teff and kamut.  It’s a “new” ancient grain, if you will.  Freekeh is somewhat new on the scene here, but this grain has been a staple in a handful of countries since 2300 BC.  Kind of a long time.

In short, freekeh is wheat.  Wheat that’s that been harvested while still young and green, then it’s roasted and the outer layers are rubbed off.  This is what wholegrain freekeh looks like.

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon

Freekeh is really versatile, and can be used similar to quinoa, barley, farro, brown rice or wheat berries.  It has an earthy, nutty taste, and the wholegrain variety has a similar chewy texture to wheat berries or barley, while the cracked variety is more similar to bulgar.

The nutritional benefits of freekeh are also pretty awesome!
* High in fiber (4 times higher than brown rice!)
* High in protein
* High in calcium (yay, healthy bones!)
* Rich in prebiotics (fueling the growth of healthy bacteria)
* High in lutein (yay, healthy eyes!)

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon

Last month Freekehlicious contacted me to see if I’d be interested in trying this “new” grain.  Forget knowing anything about it, I’d never even heard of it, but whole grains are a big part of my diet, so I was really intrigued.

Since then, I’ve stumbled across several articles and blog posts about freekeh and I found it on a few different menus while I was out in San Francisco.

As you might imagine, freekeh isn’t sitting on the shelves of all your local grocery stores.  I’m just waiting for the day I finally spy this in the bulk bins!  For now, you can find it at Whole Foods, Wegmans and of course, you can order it online.  I’m sure you can find freekeh at a lot of other markets and grocery stores, these are just the ones in my area where I know it’s available.

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon is my way of ever so slowly easing into fall.  This meal is earthy, warm & comforting, and while it doesn’t take too much prep work, the cook time is long enough that I’d prefer to keep it as a weekend dinner.  Using wholegrain freekeh, in place of arborio rice, adds a little bit of a fun crunchy, chewy texture.

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon

Yield: Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 6-7 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup whole grain freekeh
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (I used sauvignon blanc)
  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thin
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, stems removed & sliced thin
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped
  • salt
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Combine the vegetable stock and tarragon sprigs in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.

Heat butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and sweat, without obtaining any color, until translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the freekeh to the pan, and stir to coat with oil & butter. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in the wine, and cook until it's reduced by 3/4. Add 1 cup of stock to the pan; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until liquid has been absorbed. Repeat with the remaining 5 cups of stock, and discard the tarragon sprigs. If the freekeh still feels a little tough, you may want to add an additional cup of stock.

While the freekeh cooks, saute the mushrooms. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, stir in the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

After the last addition of stock has been absorbed, remove the pan from the heat, add the sauteed mushrooms, parmesan cheese and chopped tarragon to the freekeh, and stir to combine. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, as necessary.

Garnish with grated parmesan cheese and chopped tarragon.

Serve immediately.

http://thecornerkitchenblog.com/mushroom-freekeh-risotto/

Freekeh Risotto with Mushrooms & Tarragon

Disclosure: I was given samples of freekeh by Freekehlicious.   I was not monetarily compensated in any way for this post. All opinions are of my own. 

 

Enjoy!

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Tieghan September 11, 2013 at 8:53 AM

This look awesome, Kelli! I love all those mushrooms!

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Kelli September 11, 2013 at 9:57 AM

You can never have too many mushrooms!

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Erin | The Law Students Wife September 11, 2013 at 9:26 AM

So I just made something with Kamut berries this week–yay ancient grains! I’m going to have to look into this freekeh business and FINALLY attempt risotto. I’ve been avoiding it forever and have no idea why!

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Kelli September 11, 2013 at 9:59 AM

Whaaaat…never made risotto?! You will love it! Let’s make a deal…I’ll *finally* try kamut and you try risotto.

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Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste September 11, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Risotto is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods! Can’t wait to make this recipe!

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Kelli September 11, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Oh my gosh, mine too! You will love this version!

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Julia September 11, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Love the information run down on the new ancient grain! I had never heard of freekeh until reading this, so I’m psyched to try it out. Also….mushrooms and shallots and parmesan?? Sign me up!!

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:33 PM

Awesome. I really think you will love it, Julia!

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Abby September 11, 2013 at 3:02 PM

ohhh you had me at mushrooms and tarragon! I can’t wait to try out this grain, now where to find it? :)

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:35 PM

If you can’t find it at your local Whole Foods, you can buy is on Amazon (what can’t you buy on Amazon?!).

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Abby September 13, 2013 at 10:58 AM

So true :) thanks!!

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Olena@iFOODreal September 11, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Oh my gosh, never heard of freekeh. I definitely need practice spelling it, not to mention the spelling. I thought it was farro. Good to know and I love anything with mushrooms. Too bad kids don’t like mushrooms.:(

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:37 PM

What a bummer your kids don’t like mushrooms. You can try subbing in another veggies that they like!

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Joanne September 12, 2013 at 6:46 AM

I still have Freekeh from some blog conference or another sitting in my cabinet! So glad i know what to do with it now…and have some idea of what it actually is!

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:37 PM

All right! Glad I could help out :)

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ashley - baker by nature September 12, 2013 at 1:17 PM

I am freekeh-ing out over this!!! LOVE all of the amazing flavors you jammed into this pretty dish :)

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:38 PM

As much as I love the taste, I love saying the name even more!

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Abbie @ Needs Salt September 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM

This dish looks amazing! I absolutely love cooking with ancient grains.
Pinning! :)

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Thanks so much, Abbie!

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Megan {Country Cleaver} September 12, 2013 at 7:17 PM

This looks great Kel! I’ve never tried freekeh, I bet it would be a hit in my house with the wheat farmer husband!

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Kelli September 12, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Thanks, Megan! I bet this would be right up your husband’s alley!

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Amy @ Elephant Eats September 16, 2013 at 9:18 PM

hehehe, I totally want to cook anything with the name Freekeh. I’ll have to go search for it. It looks kind of like wheatberries, which I love.

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Kelli September 17, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Right!!! How could you not love something with a name like that!

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Laurie {SimplyScratch} September 16, 2013 at 11:07 PM

This looks so rustic and purrrrty! Love it!

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Kelli September 17, 2013 at 7:36 AM

Thanks, Laurie!!

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Anabel April 26, 2014 at 1:52 AM

I’ve never had risotto but made this & loved it! I topped it with some chicken & spinach. My kids ate it all…will definitely make again!

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Kelli April 29, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Fantastic! So glad your family enjoyed this….and I love that you added chicken and spinach, Anabel!

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