Bulgur Pilaf with Leeks, Currants and Pine Nuts

6 Oct

Bulgur pilaf with leeks, currants and pinenutsThis is a good recipe for a holiday meal — or anytime!

We went to Detroit’s Eastern Market on a recent Tuesday and got some beautiful leeks! If you’re not used to cooking with leeks, give them a try. They look like giant scallions and have a similar flavor, but milder.

Lop off the dark green tops, then slice each leek in half lengthwise so you can clean them easily. Run the pieces under running water while you carefully fan out the layers to rinse out any dirt and grit. Dry with a paper towel and lay each half flat to slice.

I wanted to double the recipe for a company meal and discovered I had only one cup of bulgur in my cupboard — and no time to shop. I had a package of “freekah,” another Middle Eastern cracked wheat product, so I used a cup of each. The freekah was delicious, but it imparted a slightly smoky flavor; using bulgur alone would make it a little more bland.

I didn’t have any currants so I used raisins.

This recipe was adapted from one that appeared in the Detroit Free Press, and which originally came from the American Medical Association Family Cookbook by Melanie Barnard and Brooke Dojny.


2 Tbs. olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks (white and pale green part only – about 2 medium leeks)
2 cups vegetable broth
1¼ cups raw bulgur
¼ cup currants or raisins
2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts (you can get them pre-toasted at Trader Joe)
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Salt and black pepper to taste


In a medium saucepan, heat the oil. Add the leeks and 2 Tbs. of the broth and stir to combine. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the leeks soften and start to brown, about 8 minutes.

Add the remaining broth and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the bulgur, cover and simmer over medium heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the currants or raisins, cover and let stand until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. (If any liquid remains, drain it off.)

Stir the toasted pine nuts and lemon juice into the bulgur with a fork. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Serves 6 to 8


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