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Orange Chicken Thighs with Cherry Salsa

& Green Wheat Freekeh Salad

Orange Chicken Thighs with Cherry Salsa  & Green Wheat Freekeh Salad

Freekeh (pronounced freak-ah) is an ancient wheat that’s harvested at a young stage, when it’s still green. First the grains dry in the sun, then they’re fire-roasted, polished, and cracked. During the polishing, or rubbing, process is where freekeh gets its name from the Arabic word “farik” or rubbed. The unique, toasted flavor makes it an excellent side for crispy-skinned chicken and sweet-and-savory fresh cherry salsa.

Orange Chicken Thighs with Cherry Salsa  & Green Wheat Freekeh Salad ingredients
  • ¾ Cup Freekeh
  • 2 Ounces Arugula
  • 2 Tablespoons Almonds
  • 1 Bunch Mint
  • 1 Cup Cherries
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 Shallot
  • 4 Chicken Thighs
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:
Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the freekeh and cook 15 to 17 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain well.
Prepare your ingredients:
2 Prepare your ingredients:
While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Thinly slice the mint by stacking and rolling up the leaves, then cut them crosswise into thin ribbons. Peel and mince the shallot. Roughly chop the almonds. Pick off the cherry stems, then press down on the cherries with the side of a knife to loosen the pits. Use your fingers to remove the pits, then finely chop the cherries. With a vegetable peeler or knife, remove the peel from the orange. Finely chop the peel to make zest. (You can also use a citrus grater to do this.) Finely chop the arugula.
Cook the chicken:
3 Cook the chicken:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and season it all over with salt and pepper. In a large pan, heat a little oil on medium until hot. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until cooked through. (To prevent splattering and speed up the cooking, loosely cover it with foil.) Just before the chicken is done, reduce the heat to low. Add half the orange zest and the juice of the whole orange to the pan. (Be careful, the juice may splatter.) Simmer the orange sauce about 1 minute, or until it thickens slightly. Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest.
Make the cherry salsa:
4 Make the cherry salsa:
While the chicken cooks, make the cherry salsa. In a small bowl, stir together the cherries, red wine vinegar, shallot, half the mint, and the remaining orange zest. Drizzle in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Finish the freekeh:
5 Finish the freekeh:
With the orange sauce still in the pan from the chicken, add the cooked freekeh, arugula, and almonds to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the mixture on low for about 1 minute, stirring until everything is heated through and the arugula has wilted completely.
Plate your dish:
6 Plate your dish:
Divide the freekeh and arugula mixture between 2 plates. Top each with the chicken. Spoon the cherry salsa over the chicken and garnish with the remaining mint. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the freekeh:
1 Cook the freekeh:
Heat a small pot of salted water to boiling on high. Add the freekeh and cook 15 to 17 minutes, or until cooked through. Drain well.
2 Prepare your ingredients:
While the freekeh cooks, wash and dry the fresh produce. Thinly slice the mint by stacking and rolling up the leaves, then cut them crosswise into thin ribbons. Peel and mince the shallot. Roughly chop the almonds. Pick off the cherry stems, then press down on the cherries with the side of a knife to loosen the pits. Use your fingers to remove the pits, then finely chop the cherries. With a vegetable peeler or knife, remove the peel from the orange. Finely chop the peel to make zest. (You can also use a citrus grater to do this.) Finely chop the arugula.
Prepare your ingredients:
Cook the chicken:
3 Cook the chicken:
Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and season it all over with salt and pepper. In a large pan, heat a little oil on medium until hot. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook 8 to 10 minutes per side, or until cooked through. (To prevent splattering and speed up the cooking, loosely cover it with foil.) Just before the chicken is done, reduce the heat to low. Add half the orange zest and the juice of the whole orange to the pan. (Be careful, the juice may splatter.) Simmer the orange sauce about 1 minute, or until it thickens slightly. Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest.
4 Make the cherry salsa:
While the chicken cooks, make the cherry salsa. In a small bowl, stir together the cherries, red wine vinegar, shallot, half the mint, and the remaining orange zest. Drizzle in a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Make the cherry salsa:
Finish the freekeh:
5 Finish the freekeh:
With the orange sauce still in the pan from the chicken, add the cooked freekeh, arugula, and almonds to the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Heat the mixture on low for about 1 minute, stirring until everything is heated through and the arugula has wilted completely.
6 Plate your dish:
Divide the freekeh and arugula mixture between 2 plates. Top each with the chicken. Spoon the cherry salsa over the chicken and garnish with the remaining mint. Enjoy!
Plate your dish: