Tag Archives: bulgur

Spicy Red Lentil Soup

30 Jul

lentil soup spicy

Yes, loyal readers, I do sometimes make something other than lentil soup, even though I’ve posted many variations on this theme lately. Reasons abound: lentil soups are my husband’s favorites, they’re easy to make in whatever variation you choose, and lentils are really healthful. Most lentil soup recipes make a lot, so you can refrigerate or freeze leftovers and enjoy many meals (unless you’re making it for company).

This one is interesting because it uses bulgur in addition to lentils. The original recipe came from the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent, but I varied it a bit. The original called for twice as much bulgur, which made the soup too thick — I had to add lots more water while it was cooking just to keep it liquid. It also suggested more chili flakes, which made it too spicy even for me, a spice-lover! A half-teaspoon is ample, but vary this according to your taste.

The soup gets very thick when you store leftovers in the fridge, but you shouldn’t need to add water; it loosens up when you reheat it.

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, chopped
½  chili flakes (or to taste)
3 Tbs. tomato paste (half a small can)
10 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups red lentils
1 cup bulgur
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh mint leaves for garnish

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili flakes, tomato paste and stock. Stir well and bring to a boil.

Add the lentils and bulgur and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes. If it’s too thick, add some water.

Puree half the soup in a blender or with an immersion blender and return it to the saucepan. Stir well and cook another few minutes before serving.

Serves 8 to 12

Four-Grain Pilaf

24 Feb

Four-Grain Pilaf

Here’s a nice, hearty side dish that combines a lot of different grains for great taste, lots of fiber and an interesting texture.

Ingredients:

1½ Tbs. olive oil
1½ Tbs. margarine
¾ cup chopped onions
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
½ cup medium barley
¼ cup wild rice
¼ cup bulgur
¼ cup basmati rice
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (plus more if needed)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Put half the margarine and olive oil in a medium skillet and saute the onions over medium-high heat until wilted, about 5 minutes.

Add the garlic and mushrooms and saute 5 minutes longer, tossing, until the mushrooms begin to brown. Scrape the mixture into a small casserole with a lid.

Melt the remaining margarine and the oil in the skillet and add the grains. Saute until the grains begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil.

Pour the stock and grains into the casserole and mix. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to make sure the mixture is not drying out. If it is, add a little more stock or water.

Let the casserole sit out of the oven, covered, about 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

 

 

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.

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

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