Freekeh stuffing

Super grain: Recently, freekeh has enjoyed a bit of an uptick after being mentioned on various TV programs, including "The Dr. Oz Show," where it was lauded as a "superfood." (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

2 carrots, peeled, finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or blanched almonds

1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, snipped into shards

1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots

1/2 cup each, finely chopped: fresh mint, fresh dill

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons melted butter

1. Rinse and pat dry the chicken. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chicken in a roasting pan. (Let it rest on the carrot peelings and onion trimmings if you wish to use the drippings for a flavorful pan sauce.)

2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked freekeh, onion, carrot, celery, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, apricots, mint and dill. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper; stir again. Pour the melted butter over the freekeh mixture; stir to combine.

3. Stuff the chicken with the freekeh mixture, tying the legs snugly over the cavity if desired.

4. Roast the chicken until juices run clear when the thigh is pierced, 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter. If making a pan sauce, strain the drippings and return them to the roasting pan over medium heat; reduce until syrupy. Add 1 cup dry white wine; reduce again by about one-third, stirring well to incorporate browned bits.

5. Serve the chicken and stuffing with a splash of the pan sauce. If there are leftovers, remove the stuffing from the bird and refrigerate it separately.

Note: To cook freekeh, combine 1 cup freekeh, rinsed and drained, with 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until freekeh is al dente, 15 to 20 minutes. One cup raw freekeh equals about two cups cooked.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 707 calories, 37 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 168 mg cholesterol, 39 g carbohydrates, 56 g protein, 208 mg sodium, 8 g fiber.