Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bulgur Pilaf ( Pourgouri )

Greek Bulgur Pilaf
This is another family favorite. I think of it as the Greek alternative to the American Macaroni and Cheese. WAY healthier, but still that nice simple dish that Moms cook for kids when they want something basic and comforting. And, it's loved by people of all ages, and served in lots of restaurants.

There are two ways to make it - classic and my shortcut method. I'll share both here. Either way, the dish takes about the same amount of time as a meal from the boxed-pasta-or-rice-dinner-aisle in the grocery.

Bulgur Pilaf
Saute till translucent
2 tsp to 4 tablespoons oil (your choice how much to use)
1 or 2 onions, diced
Add and saute till golden brown
3oz (75g.) vermicelli, broken (about 3/4 cup - broken spaghetti will do in a pinch)

Add and bring to a boil
2 C Bulgur *
4 c cups water
1 large crumbled bouillon cube or 1 Tablespoon bouillon powder
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, with juice (or equivalent fresh diced)
salt and black pepper

Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, till liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and allow to stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork
Serve with lots of raw, chopped veggies

Shortcut Bulgur Pilaf
Saute (this step may be skipped if desired - the toasted pasta is a nice touch, but not absolutely vital)
1 teaspoon oil
3 ounces broken vermicelli or broken spaghetti (about 3/4 cup)
2 cups Bulgur*
4 cups water
3 cups Yachni Sauce
Cover and reduce heat. Simmer 20 minutes, till liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat and allow to stand 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork
Salt and Pepper to taste.
Serve with lots of raw, chopped veggies

Tips for dining with omnivores: This dish goes very well with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. It also may be used as a starchy side-dish for any meat meal.

*Some information on Bulgur: Bulgur is often thought of as interchangeable with Cracked Wheat. I actually thought that was the case till I did some research recently when my Bulgur Pilaf was sticky. Bulgur is parboiled and dried before packaging, Cracked Wheat is not. Which means that Bulgur can be soaked instead of cooking when making dishes like Tabbouleh. Cracked Wheat should be cooked, and has a longer cooking time than does Bulgur. From my observation, it is also more likely to end up a little sticky (similar to the way long grain rice can be if cooked improperly). This recipe uses Bulgur, but Cracked Wheat may be substituted in a pinch - see pictures below with captions.

Here is a canister of Bulgur (on the bottom) with Cracked Wheat (on the top).

I experimented with Toasting the Cracked Wheat to give it some of the
Pre-cooked quality that Bulgur has. I stirred it in the dry skillet over medium-high
heat till it seemed toasted (probably about 15 minutes). It did seem to work more nicely in my recipe after
I did this : ) I imagine toasting in the oven would also work, but I did not experiment with that.

This is being shared on
Food on Friday 

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