Friday, October 25, 2013

Burghul bi Jibn wal Batinjan (Bulgur with Cheese and Eggplant)

I'm ashamed to admit that I've rarely used bulgur beyond tabbouleh, and it felt about time to remedy that situation; it's one of those great grains loaded with iron, protein, and fiber, so makes a great base for a vegan entree. This particular dish is actually a Syrian recipe, a cuisine I've never tried before. I recommend coarse-ground bulgur, although medium-ground would work - just don't choose the finely-ground variety. This particular dish would normally be made with halumi cheese, but Follow Your Heart's Vegan Gourmet mozzarella makes a nice alternative.

  • 6 ounces Vegan Gourmet mozzarella
  • 6 cups (1-inch) cubed eggplant
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 4 cups vertically sliced onion
  • 2 cups uncooked coarse-ground bulgur
  • 3 and 1/4 cups boiling water
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Dice the cheese; set aside.

2. Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, tossing well.  Let stand for 20 minutes to drain.  Rinse, pat dry with paper towels, and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion; saute for 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden brown.

4. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the bulgur, boiling water, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes - the liquid should be absorbed.

5. Heat an additional teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the eggplant; saute for 10 minutes, until browned.

Note: Since you're only using a teaspoon of olive oil here, be sure to watch closely and stir often enough that the eggplant doesn't stick to the pan.

6. Combine the diced cheese, bulgur mixture, eggplant, and remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven, tossing well.  Place over medium heat for 5 minutes.

The dish will be best served hot.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 and 1/2 cups), Calories 325 

Tasting Notes:
The olive oil stirred in right at the end makes this a good bit oilier than the food I normally eat, making it feel indulgent and rich. Nutty bulgur, eggplant that is tender to perfection, and delightful tidbits of cheese all make this recipe a keeper. I would caramelize the onions way down next time though - closer to 30 minutes, with a touch of vegan sugar added - before proceeding to the next step.


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