Dirty Freekeh

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Divided

1 8-Ounce Package Tempeh, Diced

1/2 Cup Minced Button Mushrooms

1 Medium Yellow Onion, Finely Chopped

3 Large Garlic Cloves, Minced

2 Celery Stalks, Diced

1 Jalapeño Pepper, Seeded and Finely Chopped

1/2 Medium Red Bell Pepper

1 Cup Mushroom Broth

3 Cups Cooked Cracked Freekeh (From 1 Cup Raw)

1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika

1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cumin

1/4 Teaspoon Dried Oregano

1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper

6 Scallions, Thinly Sliced

3 Tablespoon Fresh Parsley, Minced

1 - 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt

Place 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat and wait until it start shimmering. Add in the tempeh and saute, searing the outsides to a crispy golden brown. Stir gently so that you don't break the cubes into smaller pieces. Once evenly browned on all sides, transfer to a plate and return the pan to the stove.

Pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil, turn down the heat to medium, and toss in the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Cook for 6 - 8 minutes, until aromatic, before introducing the celery, Jalapeño, and bell pepper as well. Stir frequently, sauteing until all the vegetables have softened and are just beginning to lightly brown around the edges. Quickly deglaze with the mushroom broth, scraping the bottom of the pan thoroughly to dislodge anything that might have stuck, preventing the goodies from burning. Introduce the cooked freekeh along with all the spices. Stir well to incorporate and distribute the vegetables throughout.

Turn down the heat to medium-low, allowing the mixture to cook gently until all of the broth has been absorbed. It should still be moist, but not soupy. Turn off the heat, add the cooked, crispy tempeh and fresh herbs into the freekeh. Finally, season to taste, and don't be afraid to get a bit aggressive with the salt to bring out the most flavor. It may look like a lot on paper, but it's a whole lot of freekeh we're talking about!

Serve hot, or let cool, chill thoroughly, and enjoy as a cold grain salad later.

Makes 4 - 6 Servings

©Hannah Kaminsky http://www.BitterSweetBlog.com