The new (ancient) grain

1 ounce dried wild mushrooms or porcini

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil, or a mixture of the two

1 small white onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup freekeh, rinsed, drained

1/2 cup grated Parmesan, Asiago or other dry cheese, plus more for serving

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup finely chopped parsley

1. Heat the beef broth to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat; place the dried mushrooms in a large glass measuring cup. Pour the beef broth over the mushrooms. Let stand until the mushrooms rehydrate, 15-20 minutes. When the mushrooms have plumped, remove them and chop coarsely; set aside. Strain the beef broth through a coffee filter or several layers of cheesecloth; return the broth to the saucepan over medium heat.

2. In another saucepan, heat the butter or oil over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring, until softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic; cook, 1 minute.

3. Add the freekeh to the onion and garlic; stir to combine. Ladle in 1 cup of the hot beef broth; reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, until almost all the broth is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Ladle in a second cup; cook as before. Add 1/2 cup of the remaining beef broth; cook as before. Taste the freekeh to see if it's done; it should be al dente. If it's not, add the remaining broth; continue to cook until the broth is fully absorbed.

4. Remove from heat; stir in the mushrooms and cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the parsley. Serve at once, with additional grated cheese.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 155 calories, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 12 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 418 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.

Roast chicken stuffed with freekeh

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Note: Freekeh is commonly used to stuff poultry in the Middle East, where this dish is served on festive occasions. If you can find squab or quail, use them instead.


1 roasting chicken, 4 to 5 pounds

2 cups freekeh, cooked, see note

1 medium onion, finely chopped