Braised artichokes with freekeh grains and herbs

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4 large globe artichokes (2.5kg gross)
Juice of 3 medium lemons (120ml)
2 large sprigs of thyme
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
10 black peppercorns
60ml olive oil
½ a lemon, thinly sliced (40g)
200g green peas, fresh or frozen
100g freekeh, rinsed
15g mint leaves, roughly chopped
10g dill, roughly chopped
15g parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbsp pink peppercorns
10g purple basil, leaves picked
Salt and black pepper

If you can’t get freekeh use bulgar wheat but cook it for only 5 minutes, before draining and refreshing. Serves four

Method

To clean the artichokes, cut off most of the stalk and start removing the tough outer leaves by hand. Once you reach the softer leaves, take a sharp serrated knife and trim off 2–3 centimetres from the top. Cut the artichoke in half lengthways so you can reach the heart and scrape it clean with a small knife. Rub the clean heart with a teaspoon of lemon juice to stop it discolouring. Cut each artichoke half into slices, 5mm thick. Place in cold water and stir in half the remaining lemon juice, about 50ml.
Drain the artichokes and place in a sauté pan. Add the remaining lemon juice, thyme, garlic, black peppercorns, olive oil, lemon slices, 4 tablespoons of water and a pinch of salt. Cook on the stove on a medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes. By this time the artichokes should be soft and the sauce a thick consistency.
Fill a medium saucepan with plenty of cold water and bring to the boil. Add the peas and blanch for 30 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to immediately plunge them into cold water, then drain and leave to dry. Add the freekeh into the same pan and simmer gently until al dente, about 20 minutes. Drain, refresh under cold water and leave to dry.
Place the artichoke and their juices in a large mixing bowl. Add the peas, freekeh, herbs, ½ a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper and toss gently. Taste to see if more salt is needed and sprinkle with the pink peppercorns. Plate and finish with the purple basil.

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  • Pasta, rice and other grains magical!
    (24/01/2014) this is a wonderful new way to use artichoke - the dill especially works well to bring out the flavours. i was more generous with the parsley as i love to overuse it, and to add some more crunch i sprinkled some slivered nuts and seeds over the top. Delicious!