Monday, May 4, 2015

Bulgur Mujadarra

This is an important staple in our dinner rotation because it's yummy and cheap. I sometimes make this dish with rice, but I like it best made with bulgur wheat.

2 cups cracked bulgur wheat
1 cup dry green lentils
2-3 large onions
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 pinches salt (or to taste)
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 small pinch ground star anise (if you don't have this, don't worry about it, but it's a nice touch.)

1. In a medium-sized bowl, cover 2 cups of cracked bulgur wheat with cold water. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut the onions in half lengthwise, and then slice width-wise as evenly as you can. Pour the olive oil into a casserole dish, and add the onion slices, tossing to coat evenly in the oil. Put the onions in the oven--it's ok to do this even if the oven isn't fully pre-heated yet. Check them every 15-20 minutes and give them a stir to help them cook evenly. You want them to turn dark golden-brown and slightly crisp around the edges.
3. While the onions cook: In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and test for doneness. Drain by pouring the lentils into a mesh strainer over a large bowl (to catch the cooking water, which you'll use to cook the bulgur.)
4. Measure out 2 cups of the cooking water from the lentils. If you don't have a full 2 cups, add in plain water until you reach 2 cups. Pour this into a dutch oven or covered casserole dish or oven-safe heavy-bottomed pot. Drain the bulgur, and add it to the dutch oven. Add 2 pinches of salt, a pinch of ground cinnamon, and a small pinch of ground star anise, if using. Stir, cover, and put it in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes, and check for doneness. The bulgur should be cooked through, but still slightly chewy, and the water should all be absorbed. If they need more time, put them back in the oven uncovered, checking again after 5 minutes. When the bulgur is ready, remove it from the oven, and add in the lentils, tossing lightly with a fork. You can put everything, uncovered, back into the oven to warm evenly and dry out a little bit.
5. The onions might be ready by now, but if they're not, just keep checking them and stirring every few minutes. You can turn down the heat to 300 if you're worried about them burning. Once the onions are nice and brown, pour them over the lentils and bulgur, along with the oil they were cooked in, and toss again with a fork.