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Middle Eastern Stuffed Chicken with Freekeh and Oranges


Jad and Hady Choucair of Mankoushe leave us today with one of their favourite recipes – stuffed baby chicken with freekeh and orange.

This dish, inherited from an Egyptian neighbour Jad and Hady knew when living in Lebanon, combines garlic, ginger, turmeric, orange and olive oil. It’s a recipe that it hasn’t changed from its origins in Alexandria, via Beirut to Brunswick East.


24th November, 2015
Jad and Hady Choucair
Tuesday 24th November 2015

In a Middle Eastern kitchen, one of the most commonly used cooking techniques is stuffing. We stuff everything from tiny little olives, capsicums, eggplants and even zucchinis. At Mankoushe one of our favourite recipes is this stuffed baby chicken recipe with freekeh and orange. We inherited this recipe from an old Egyptian neighbour in Lebanon.

This chicken dish is easy to make and full of flavour. Our neighbour would marinate the chicken overnight with garlic, ginger, turmeric and olive oil, allowing the flavours to really intensify. The next day when she was ready to cook the chicken, she would stuff it with freekeh, and bake it with orange. Once cooked, the chicken skin becomes richly glazed and crispy, it tastes so good that you’ll need to fight your dinner companions for it! We love this dish, and especially love that it hasn’t changed from its origins in Alexandria to Beirut and now Brunswick East.

Tasty Tuesday shoots are generously supported by The Establishment Studios.

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 1 whole organic baby chicken
  • 1 fresh turmeric finger
  • 1 fresh ginger finger
  • 2 onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup of freekeh
  • 4 cups of water (for boiling freekeh)
  • 1 orange
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp of sultanas


Wash chicken well, pat dry and score in chest and legs. Grind the turmeric, ginger and one onion in a pestle and mortar. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mix. Place your chicken in a bowl and pour over this spice mix, being sure to massage it thoroughly in to the flesh of the chicken. Cover with cling wrap and pop in fridge to marinate for a few hours, or if you have time overnight.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, pre-heat oven to 200°C.

Bring a pot with the water to boil, add the freekeh and boil for about 8 minutes.

While the freekeh is cooking, in a frying pan add the remaining olive oil, onion (sliced) and crushed garlic cloves and fry until soft (approximately 5 minutes). Add the cinnamon and sultanas and cook for another 2 minutes. Now add the drained freekeh to the pan and mix well for another 2-3 minutes.

Grease baking tray with olive oil. Cut the orange into slices and place slices onto the baking tray. Now get your freekeh mix and stuff it into the chicken.

Place the stuffed chicken atop of the orange slices in the baking dish. Drizzle chicken with a bit of extra olive oil, cover the tray with foil. Bake for 25 minutes at 200°C, then remove foil and pop chicken back in oven to cook for a further 10 minutes so that the chicken crisps up. Serve chicken with salad and tahini.

323 Lygon St.
Brunswick East
Victoria 3056

Middle Eastern stuffed chicken with freekeh and oranges. Ceramic plate by Sarah Schembri, Cutipol gold cutlery from Francalia. Recipe by Jad and Hady Choucair of Mankoushe. Styling – Lucy Feagins, styling assistant – Nat Turnbull. Photo – Eve Wilson

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