In the middle of the week, when I am not in the mood for faffing, I often turn to something involving couscous or rice, particularly couscous because it’s so damned fast and, with a bit of soft cheese (usually feta or goat’s cheese), a fresh tomato and a handful of whatever herb is lurking in the fridge, dinner, albeit not a particularly imaginative one, is served in ten minutes. This week, since I have rather a large bag of bulgur wheat lurking in the cupboard, which I rarely use, I thought I’d try out a pilaf instead.
Claudia Roden’s book Arabesque is full of ideas for this dish which is, in my terms, a sort of lazy person’s risotto (shove it all together, leave it to cook instead of stirring) and this one is lovely. It’s perfect as an accompaniment, as she suggests, with roast chicken or some baked chicken pieces but also perfect, as I discovered just as it is or with a little grilled halloumi. You barely need to go shopping for the ingredients for this either.
Walnut and bulgur pilaf (adapted from Arabesque)
For two portions you will need:
Cupboard (or things you may already have)
sunflower oil, 1 dessertspoon
chicken stock, 250ml (½ stock cube)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
coarse bulgur wheat, 125g
ground cinnamon, ½ tsp
ground allspice, pinch
1. Put the bulgur in a sieve, wash under cold water for a minute or two then leave to drain.
2. Peel and chop the onion and chop the walnuts.
3. Put the oil in a large, lidded pan over a low heat then add the chopped onion and fry until soft and just coloured (about 3-5 minutes depending on the size of the pieces).
4. Whilst the onion is cooking make up the stock, chop the walnuts and chop the butter into small pieces.
5. Add the bulgur to the onions, stir to mix in thoroughly, then add the stock, a pinch of sea salt, the cinnamon and the allspice. Stir again, cover and leave to cook for about 8-10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the wheat is cooked (it shouldn’t be crunchy but don’t leave it so long that it turns too soft).
6. Stir in the butter and walnuts, season to taste and serve.