I suppose you may have heard about this whole-grain craze. Everyone seems to be going nuts for quinoa especially. It’s okay, but I have developed a tremendous love of bulgur. It is higher in protein and other essential nutrients and just tastes better. It has a lovely chewy, nutty texture that quinoa simply cannot deliver. Maybe its un-American or something. Quinoa, I believe, is from North America (Mexico) and bulgur is more Turkish. Whatever. I am trying to use up fresh veggies from my garden before they are all gone. I had a nice eggplant, some peppers, tomatoes and found this recipe for Eggplant Bulgur Pilaf. I did wind up pinning a bunch of recipes from this blogspot (My Pinterest Grains Board). I wanted to change a few things because of my particular likes and cooking style. I like to make a larger batch of bulgur. I cook it in chicken broth in “the French manner.” Sounds impressive, right? The French manner is how they apparently cook rice. Instead of measuring out the rice and water, the rice is cooked in a large amount of salted water until tender, then drained. Perfect every time. By a large batch I mean that, since bulgur is still good for about 3 days after cooking, I make however much I plan to eat for 3 days! Depending on the type of bulgur you have, it really doesn’t take long at all to cook, but I still like to do it this way for convenience. The original “Almost Turkish” recipe cooks the bulgur in the vegetables which would flavor it nicely, but I just use chicken or vegetable broth to flavor it then add it to the cooked vegetables. Also, the first time I made it, I did roast the eggplant in the oven. However, the second time, I just sauteed it in the skillet before adding the other vegetables. I think it is just as easy and you don’t have to fire up your oven.
Bulgur Pilaf with Eggplant
- 2 cups of cracked wheat (bulgur)
- 6 cups of water (add chicken bouillon packet or use vegetable broth with a little salt)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 eggplant, peeled and diced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 tomatoes, small dice
- 2 banana peppers, chopped (can use a green or red pepper or other color)
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries (can use raisins)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Bring the bulgur and water (or vegetable or chicken broth) to a boil in a saucepan, reduce heat, and simmer until tender. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat and saute the eggplant, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-10 minutes or so. Stir in the onion, tomatoes, peppers, pine nuts, and cranberries. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften and the tomato breaks down, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the prepared bulgur and mix well. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place on a serving platter and garnish with the parsley.