Hawaij Spiced Lamb with Freekeh and Chickpeas

Hawaij Spiced Lamb with Freekeh and Chickpeas

Our Hawaij spice blend comes from the Yemen at the foot of the Arabian Peninsula. It has a wonderful sweet, earthy fragrance, it's deeply aromatic without any hot spice and is used to flavour soups and stews.

This dish combines lamb with freekeh, a grain that's popular in the Middle East and used in salads and soups. If you haven't cooked with it yet, you're in for a treat - it's low in fat but high in protein and fibre. 

This is a one-pot wonder so although there is a reasonable amount of cooking time, washing up is minimal. The dish combines lamb and freekeh with chickpeas and the Hawaij spice.  Although I've used lamb neck fillets, this recipe is pretty interchangeable with the main ingredients, it also works really well with lamb mince or try it with chicken thighs if lamb isn't your thing.


Serves 4
500g Lamb neck fillet (or lamb mince)
6 small or 4 large red onions, sliced into large chunks
1 leek, cleaned, trimmed and cut into large chunks
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and diced
2 teaspoons pickled lemon paste
2 tablespoons Hawaij Spice
200ml white wine
1 litre chicken stock
Sprig of fresh thyme, de-stalked
1 fresh bay leaf
200g freekeh
1 jar chickpeas, drained of their liquid
1 teaspoon salt
½ bunch fresh parsley
Small sprig of fresh mint
Oil for frying

2 tablespoons natural yoghurt
2 teaspoons schug/zhoug

1. Season the lamb with salt. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large casserole pot and fry the lamb so it's nicely browned on all sides.

2. Add in the chunks of red onion and leek and continue to fry for another 3 or 4 minutes then add in the chopped garlic, pickled lemon paste, fresh thyme, bay leaf and keep cooking for another 2-3 minutes.

3. Now sprinkle in the Hawaij spice and mix, coating the lamb and all the vegetables. Cook for another minute before adding in the white wine. Let the wine bubble and reduce down to one third of it's volume before adding in the chicken stock. You will think that there is lots of liquid here but most of it will get absorbed by the freekeh.

4. Bring to a gentle simmer, turn the heat down, place a tight fitting lid over and cook for about an hour and a half. Hopefully your tight fitting lid will prevent too much steam from escaping but check every so often that it's not gone dry you can top up with water if needs be.

5. After and hour and half, the lamb fillets should be beautifully tender. Using two forks, pull them apart into nice, bitesize chunks - you can do this in the pan.

6. You should have plenty of liquid still in the pan so now pour in the freekeh and tip in the chickpeas. Give it a little mix through and replace the lid. Cook for another 25 minutes or until the freekeh is tender - although it always stays slightly chewy, that's what's so nice about it.

7. Once the freekeh is cooked, turn off the heat and leave it to rest for 5 minutes while you mix together the yogurt dressing by simply combining it with the schug.

8. Finally, stir through the chopped herbs, drizzle over the dressing and serve.

Enjoy! Foodies, don't forget to tag us in your social posts and leave a review below when you've cooked this at home. Ben 

1 Response

Sue Lintern
Sue Lintern

May 22, 2023

Absolutely loved this dish. It will become a family favourite. Thanks Ben & Alice.

Have you tried this recipe yet? Tell us about it...

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Somerset Foodie recipes - let us inspire you...

Simple Shrimp Tacos - Tacos de Camaron
Simple Shrimp Tacos - Tacos de Camaron

This taco recipe is just about the quickest and simplest way to enjoy super tasty, authentic tasting Mexican tacos. Everything comes together in less than 20 minutes. Shrimp tacos or Tacos de Camaron as they are called in Mexico, require very little preparation
Egg Fettuccine with Mussels and Saffron
Egg Fettuccine with Mussels and Saffron

1 Comment

Eating seafood with pasta always makes me think I'm on holiday, it's a fantastic combination particularly with this delicious egg fettuccine. It's really worth trading up for dried egg pasta... compared to Durum wheat pasta, dried egg pasta has a much richer flavour with a lovely silky texture.
Crispy Miso Marinated Shiitake Bao Bun
Crispy Miso Marinated Shiitake Bao Bun


The flavours going on in this bao bun are extraordinary. It has everything that a good bao bun should have - a deeply savoury, umami rich centrepiece, sharp pickles for good contrast, a creamy hot mayo, salty sweet roasted peanuts and fragrant herbs all wrapped up in a soft, fluffy warm bun.....I could live on these!