Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bulgur with tomato and feta

A couple of weeks ago, the San Francisco Chronicle Food section ran a big article on bulgur, complete with 6 or 7 bulgur recipes. Always attracted by an interesting grain, I immediately clipped out all the recipes and vowed to buy some bulgur on my next grocery shopping trip.

Well, either I was looking in the wrong places, or the markets I went to were just out of bulgur, but it took until this past weekend for me to find some. And so today I was finally able to make the recipe which had first caught my eye and which I had been dreaming of (really!) since I saw it - a recipe for bulgur with onion, tomatoes, and feta.

It turned out to be just as delicious as I had hoped - the grainy bulgur was complemented by the tomatoes, and the spiciness of the pepper was cooled just enough by the feta. I made some slight modifications to the recipe, but the original, along with the article and all the other bulgur recipes, can be found here. For my version, see below.

100 g bulgur
4-5 San Marzano tomatoes, peeled and crushed (fresh when they're in season, canned when they're not)
A dollop of tomato paste
A cupful of vegetable broth
A generous chunk of feta - I really like the stuff, so I put in quite a bit but you can vary the amount to suit your tastes
Half a yellow onion
A pinch of red pepper flakes
A spoonful of mint flakes
A spoonful of salt
Olive oil
A sprig or two of fresh parsley

In a small saucepan, heat the broth, the tomatoes, and the tomato paste until boiling. Turn the heat down, add the salt and let simmer while you prepare the other ingredients.

Wash the bulgur if necessary (depends on where you got it - I think most commercial brands these days don't need to be washed). Dice the onion.

In a large saucepan, heat some oil. When the oil is sizzling hot, add the onion and let cook a couple minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the bulgur, mint flakes, and red pepper flakes, and stir until all the bulgur grains are coated with oil.

Pour in the tomato-broth mixture and, once everything is boiling, turn heat down very low and cover.

Let the bulgur cook about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, wash and chop the parsley. Once the 10 minutes are up, check the bulgur. It should be of a similar consistency to risotto - tender but not soggy and still a bit resistant. When the bulgur has reached this consistency, turn off the heat and let it sit another couple of minutes.

Crumble most of the feta into the bulgur mixture, reserving a bit to put on top of the dish. Grind some black pepper over everything and mix well.

Serve the bulgur, topping with the remaining feta and the parsley.

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