Friday, December 11, 2009

Farewell to the Garden and Hearty Bulgur Pilaf

I am sorry if I kept you waiting. The last week was a wee bit nuts around here and so I neglected a few things. But I am back with apologies.

And in the time between I wrote last and now winter has finally arrived in Baltimore. The skies emptied snow on us and I ran to my garden to pick the last of my peppers and bid adieu to my first garden. I am not a talented gardener. Not everything I planted grew, and not everything I grew was perfect. But I learned so much and most importantly my son did too. As we pulled out the carrots, we snapped this quick photo and he proudly announced, " I grew these all myself!" He then looked at me with his face glowing and added, "With all of your help, too."

Yes, I had to do a lot of prodding to keep him interested most of the time, but he was a large part of it all. It was his garden too. As we prepped the ground, planted the seeds, watered the sprouts and tended it all I got to talk to him. Tell him why we plant gardens, to follow the prophet, to participate in the miracle of growth, to work and know where real food come from. And as he held the last produce of the season with such joy, I know it meant at least a little something to him too.

And now that it is winter here is one of my favorite quick weeknight dinners for the colder months ahead. Enjoy. I promise this recipe was worth the two week wait.

Hearty Bulgur Pilaf
marginally adapted from
America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook

3 T. unsalted butter
1 onion, minced
8 ounces cremini (brown Italian or baby bella) mushrooms, trimmed and quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups of your choice of stock or broth (vegetable or meat based)
1 1/2 cups bulgur, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 t. soy sauce
1/4 cup fresh, chopped parsley or thyme

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mushrooms and cook until browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Stir in the broth, drained bulgur, and soy sauce. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook until add the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender, about 15 minutes.

3. Off the heat, let the pilaf stand for 5 minutes. Using a fork, stir in the herbs and fluff the bulgur. Season with salt and pepper.

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