Friday, February 5, 2010

New comfort food

I knew I had to act fast if I wanted to have a picture of this Bulgur pilaf for my blog. This whole pan was consumed in no time right after this picture was taken. There is never a leftover of this dish in our house .
You see I had no clue about bulgur until I started eating often at my in-law's house. Bulgur is widely used in Turkey and other Mediterranean countries instead of rice for pilaf. More fine version of the grain is often used for baking, stuffing (think dolma) or kisir ( Turkish version of tabouleh).
Come summer and I will definitely make a lot of kisir and I will show you how. But for now as the weather is still chilly let's eat something more hearty. Bulgur pilaf....You will need
1 pound ( 0,5 kg) lean ground beef
1 Tbsp butter
1Tbsp olive oil
1 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 heaping Tbsp of tomato paste
1 heaping Tbsp of pepper paste (optional)
1,5 cups of bulgur
3 cups of chicken broth
3-4 spring of fresh scallion
spicy red pepper ( optional)
1 Tbs of dry mint or more
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter and olive oil in a big pan with tall sides and saute onion for about 5 minutes. Add crushed garlic and saute for another minute. Now the best here would be to remove onion mix and brown the beef separately returning the onions back afterwards. But I do not always do it. Too lazy, hehe. So you brown the beef until all the liquid evaporates. Return onion and now add the tomato and pepper pastes and saute everything together mixing well. Time to add bulgur and broth. Lower the heat, cover and cook until bulgur is ready. About 30 minutes. You might want to steer it a few times to make sure it cooks evenly. Now add scallions, adjust salt to your liking, add mint and pepper. You may find that you need a little bit more of the broth. Cover again and let it finish for another 5-7 minutes.
P.S. As you can see from this picture above this dish can be taken further by adding sauteed vegetables or greens. That day I had a gorgeous bunch of Kale that I did not want to wilt . I cooked it separately and just added to the bulgur at the very end. This way it kept all its amazing flavors.
To do this you remove all the stems from the bunch of Kale leaves. In a pan heat butter and olive oil. Saute briefly a crushed clove of garlic without burning it. Now add your chopped kale to the pan. And about 1/4 cup of chicken broth. Cover and saute for about 5 minutes. Adjust salt and freshly ground pepper to you liking . At this point you can eat Kale as it is or add it to your bulgur.

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