Freekeh, Walnut, Swiss Chard, Mushrooms and Tahini Mascarpone

26th April 2016

Words: Molly Tait-Hyland
Photographs: Yousef Eldin

“This is another way to cook freekeh, instead of simply boiling it; here it’s cooked more like a rice pilaf. You can serve this either in one large bowl as part of a meal or as a starter. It goes well with a grilled (broiled) lamb neck chop or alongside a baked mackerel or a grilled (broiled) chunk of salmon. Use colourful rainbow chard if you can find it, and you could also use a variety of different mushrooms.”
Peter Gordon, chef, east London

Serves 8 as a starter or side dish


1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped or grated ginger
100g (3½ oz/1 cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped
200g (7 oz/1 cup) freekeh, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp cider vinegar
60g (2¼ oz/ ¼ cup) butter
¾ medium-thickness leek, thinly sliced
4 portobello mushrooms (about 450g/1lb), sliced
300g (10½ oz) Swiss chard
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp lemon juice
200g (7 oz/scant 1 cup) mascarpone, at room temperature
1 small bunch flat-leaf (Italian)
Parsley (including stalks), coarsely chopped


First cook the freekeh. Heat a medium–large saucepan over a medium–high heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until caramelized, stirring often. Add the walnuts and cook for 30 seconds, coating them in the oil, then add the freekeh and 500ml (2 cups) of water. Bring to the boil, then cover the pan and lower the heat to a simmer. Add the freekeh and cook until it is almost cooked but still a little al dente, about 10–12 minutes. Turn off the heat, mix in the vinegar and 1 teaspoon of salt and leave to cool with the lid on.

While the freekeh is cooking, place a medium pan on a medium heat. Add the butter and cook until it turns nut brown. Add the leek and cook until it wilts, stirring as it cooks. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they, too, begin to collapse. Add salt to taste.

Next, prepare the Swiss chard. Cut the leaves from the stalks and wash both the leaves and stalks to remove any grit. Thinly slice the stalks crossways and put to one side. Roll up the leaves and shred them. Add the stalks to the mushroom mix and cook for 2 minutes, stirring from time to time. Stir in the leaves and taste for seasoning. Cover the pan and turn off the heat.

Mix the tahini and lemon juice together to a paste, then mix in the mascarpone until combined.

To serve, place the freekeh on your plates and spoon the mushroom and chard mixture on top. Dollop on the mascarpone and sprinkle with the parsley.

Eat it warm or at room temperature.



Posted 26th April 2016

In Recipes


Words: Molly Tait-Hyland
Photographs: Yousef Eldin