Bulgar wheat has been parboiled, dried and cracked before it makes it to market. A staple in Middle Eastern cooking, it is a versatile component of many stews, soups, salads and casseroles. When prepared, bulgar wheat has a chewy, meaty texture with a nutty flavour that enhances many main dishes.
Tabbouleh salad is a very popular Middle Eastern meal. It is simple to make and easily adapted to any fresh ingredients found in the pantry. To make the salad, pour 2 1/2 cups of boiling salted water over 1 cup of bulgar wheat. Let stand for 30 minutes, then drain using a colander. Add chopped fresh parsley, minced garlic and diced fresh tomatoes to taste. For a dressing, mix 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, juice of one lemon, 1/4 teaspoon cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate for up to eight hours to allow the bulgar wheat to soak up the dressing, and serve cold on arugula or red leaf lettuce.
Sausage and Bulgar Wheat
Bulgar wheat is a perfect addition to main dishes. In a sauté pan, cook a favourite sausage like chicken and herb sausage or a mild pork sausage. Once the sausage has been fully cooked, add 1 cup bulgar wheat and cook for about 5 minutes to brown and soak up flavours. For more flavour, add ingredients like fresh herbs, dried fruit, celery, onion and Mediterranean spices. Add 2 cups chicken broth, vegetable broth or beef broth to the mixture, and allow it to cook for 20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed. Have fun playing with ingredients and flavours.
Bulgar Wheat Pilaf
Bulgar wheat is a nice side to any entrée. To make bulgar wheat pilaf, place 1 cup bulgar wheat and 2 cups vermicelli in a heated saucepan along with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook for 5 minutes until the vermicelli and bulgar wheat start to turn golden brown. Add 2 cups chicken stock, beef stock or vegetable stock to the mixture. Allow everything to cook on low heat for 25 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed.
Bulgar Wheat Pudding
For a dessert, try replacing the rice in a standard rice pudding with bulgar wheat for a new twist on an old favourite. Into a large saucepan, place 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 2 cups water. Bring all ingredients to a boil until the raisins are tender, about 10 minutes. Add 3/4 cup bulgar wheat and cook the mixture for about 25 minutes it has the same consistency as oatmeal. Let cool. In another bowl, whisk together two eggs and 1/2 cup half and half. Fold the egg mixture into the wheat mixture and place in greased 8-inch glass baking dish. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool. Serve with caramel sauce or maple syrup.
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