The stuffing in our recipe for roast chicken and freekeh stuffing has all the flavors of a bread stuffing but rather than bread we substituted cracked freekeh with it’s unique smoky flavor and chewy texture. This is a nutritious and healthy stuffing with fresh herbs, mushrooms, carrots and a little white wine.
We took an ordinary chicken, an un-ordinary stuffing and created a memorable dinner. You can never go wrong with serving a roast chicken either for an everyday dinner or for company. Our freekeh stuffing is a new approach to a bread stuffing in a classic roasted chicken.
Freekeh is an ancient grain originating in the Middle East where it has been enjoyed as a staple food for centuries in Israel, Egypt, Iran and Syria. It is becoming more well known in the United States as our focus on health and nutrition increases. Freekeh can be found in Middle Eastern markets, some grocery stores and online.
While freekeh is still young and soft it is harvested, piled up, dried and set fire and roasted, then it goes through the standard threshing process. The burning process adds a smokey, delicious flavor to the grain that is apparent in our stuffing recipe with fresh herbs, mushrooms, carrots and celery.
Freekeh is available in the whole grain or the cracked grain and we are using the cracked version in this recipe. It is similar to bulgar but a little coarser in texture and that smokey flavor is really delicious.
Freekeh is a powerhouse of nutrition with it’s high protein, fiber and vitamins. Plus it is low in fat and has a low glycemic index of 43 which makes it a great choice for those managing their blood sugar. Freekeh is as nutritious as quinoa and maybe more so, however, unlike quinoa freekeh is a wheat product and is not gluten-free.
- Serves: 8
- Serving size: 1 serving (of 8)
- Calories: 431
- Fat: 18.4
- Saturated fat: 5.86
- Trans fat: 0
- Carbohydrates: 29
- Sugar: 3.23
- Sodium: 141
- Fiber: 7.33
- Protein: 34.2
- Cholesterol: 125
- 1½ cups dry cracked freekeh
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
- 1 stalk celery, diced small
- ½ cup white wine
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 4½ - 5 pound chicken
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Kosher salt
- Lemon wedges
- Preheat the oven to 375°F
- In a medium sized saucepan with tight fitting lid, add the cracked freekeh, water and salt, bring to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from the heat and drain off the remaining water. Transfer the cooked freekeh to a large bowl to cool.
- In a medium skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until the alcohol burns off, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the carrots, mushrooms, celery sage and oregano. Add the vegetable mixture to the bowl of freekeh and toss to combine. Allow to cool slightly. Stir in the lightly beaten egg and season with salt and pepper.
- With paper towels, pat the chicken dry. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Lightly stuff the cavity with the freekeh mixture, (add remaining mixture to a greased casserole dish and cook separately). Tie the legs together, and tuck wings underneath. Brush melted butter on the outside of the chicken and sprinkle with kosher salt. Place the stuffed chicken in a roasting pan and transfer to the middle of the oven.
- Roast chicken until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of the inner thigh registers 165°F or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. About 1¼ hours. Let rest 10 minutes before serving. Remove stuffing and carve the chicken. Serve a portion of roast chicken along side of the freekeh stuffing and lemon wedges to squeeze on the stuffing.