Never cooked bulgar wheat before? Now is the time with this simplest of recipes. Cooking time? The time it takes you to bring water to boil.

There was a bag of bulgar wheat (cracked wheat) in my larder. I had bought it months back as I had been meaning to make a middle eastern style kind of salad with nuts, pomegranates, parsley and extra virgin olive oil that I had seen featured a lot recently. Clearing my pantry last week, I sighed as I stared at the bulgar wheat. It was one day from its expiry date. I had to cook it for dinner and I really didn’t feel like taking out my Honey & Co. cookbook.  After half a day of clearing and cleaning my pantry, I wanted take-out instead. But no, I dislike throwing out food so I made myself open the refrigerator door. Out came coriander leaves, spring onions, what was left of last night’s roast chicken, some chicken stock and a bag of mesclun.  And what do you know? All those ingredients were the basis of something tasty! Every other addition are just extras to suit your taste.

How tasty do I find bulgar wheat cooked this way? Tasty enough that I have since gone to the store to get myself a new bag. Quite ironic as I was so eager to get rid of the one that had been in my pantry. Once I am tired of eating this Simply Prepared Bulgar Wheat, I might just pull out my Honey & Co. cookbook and try out one of their bulgar wheat salad. But for now, I am quite happy to eat this salad yet again.

SIMPLY PREPARED BULGAR WHEAT OVER SALAD GREENS

Prep: 15 minutes (even less if you skip the ‘extra’ toppings of nuts, tomatoes, dried fruit,…)
Cook: ~ 2 minutes or the time it takes you to get some water to boil
Inactive: 15 – 20 minutes
Level: Easy
Serves: ~2 – 3 persons
Oven Temperature:
Can recipe be doubled? Yes.
Make ahead? Keeps 2 -3 days refrigerated

Ingredients

1 cup bulgar wheat/cracked wheat (fine grain) *
~1 and 3/4 cups cups chicken stock
~2 Tablespoons butter
~1/4 teaspoon salt
~1/4 teaspoon black pepper
~1/8 teaspoon chilli powder/cayenne
~1/2 cup cut cilantro leaves
~1/4 cup cut spring onions
~3 cups mesclun
~1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
~1/3 cup dried cranberries/blueberries/cherries/strawberries
~1/3 cup pumpkin/sunflower seeds
~1/3 cup toasted almonds slices/walnuts/cashew nuts
~2 cups (~2 chicken breast) shredded/sliced store-bought roast chicken
Extra Virgin Olive Oil for drizzling
* Replace with couscous. Follow cooking directions on the package, replacing the water asked for with chicken stock.


Method

Toast the almonds & pumpkin seeds
1. In the pot where you will be cooking the bulgar wheat, toast the almonds. The almonds will brown more evenly if your pot is preheated, so preheat on medium-high and when hot, start toasting the almonds, stirring all the time. It will take about 2 – 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
2. Toast the pumpkin seeds the same way (~2 minutes) and again, transfer to a plate to cool.

Cook bulgar wheat
1. In the same pot, cook the bulgar according to package instructions using the chicken stock instead of water (that is often called for in the instructions). However, if you want to do it my way, this is how I do it.
2. Bring 1 and 3/4 cups of water to boil.
3. Add butter, bulgar wheat and stir to dissolve the butter. Once butter has dissolved and the liquid has come back to a boil, cover the pot. Turn off the heat and leave pot on burner for 15 – 20 minutes.
4. After 15 – 20 minutes, fluff up the bulgar wheat. Taste and add salt if necessary. If it needs more cooking, cover and let it sit over the burner for another 5 minutes. Add more water if it seems too dry but it should not need it. You should be able to see each grain of wheat. However, if you think the bulgar is too wet or mushy, sit a tea towel or a sheet of kitchen paper towel over the pot before covering pot shut with the lid. Leave for 10 minutes before going back to work on it.
5. Once cooked, transfer the bulgar to a large bowl. Cool slightly.

Prepare other ingredients
1. Whilst waiting for bulgar wheat to cook, slice up the coriander leaves and spring onions. Mesclun should be washed and dried. Cherry tomatoes halved. Chicken shredded/sliced.

Putting it together
1. Stir in the coriander leaves, spring onions, black pepper and chilli powder/cayenne into the still warm bulgar wheat. Taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Bulgar wheat can be served hot, cold or at room temperature. So choose how you would like to serve it.
3. Divide mesclun between the serving plates.
4. Top that with the bulgar wheat.
5. Then top with all the extras: chicken, toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, cherry tomatoes and dried fruit(s).
6. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if you wish.
7. I have never served this with soup but I imagine it will taste quite nice with some kind of consomme or a light carrot soup.

Tips

Bulgar wheat is so simple and quick to make. I don’t understand why it took me so long to realise that I can put a full (and very versatile) meal, complete with a variety of protein and vegetables, on the table faster than I could if I had cooked a pasta or a rice based dish. I could use boiled eggs, slices of beef, smoked salmon,… . So many possibilities.

WHAT’S COMING UP NEXT?                                       

I am still in the midst of clearing food stock from my pantry. What did I do with 4 cans of condensed milk? Dulce de leche!

Advertisements