I found the most amazing Mediterranean market near where I live, thanks to a tip from a restaurateur I spoke with while writing an article for a local newspaper.
Halloumi cheese (more on this later), every kind of grain, lentil, spice and multiple variety of olives and cuts of lamb, this place was seriously fun to browse. I went home with the halloumi, red lentils and Bulgar with no action plan at all.
There the dry goods sat in my pantry and the cheese calls my name every time I open the refrigerator.
Tonight was the night for the Bulgar – risotto-style creaminess, nutty flavor and just enough texture, this is a close runner up for arborio rice. More nutritious than rice, slightly more flavorful and interesting, Bulgar is just as, if not more, delicious than a classic risotto recipe I make often.
Risotto-Style Bulgar with Wild Mushrooms and Goat Cheese:
(serves 2-3 as an entree, 4-6 as a side)
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c dried Bulgar wheat
Olive oil as needed
Salt and pepper
1 c dry white wine
4-8 c chicken broth, warmed on the stove top
1 c re hydrated dried wild mushrooms (about 1/4 c dried)
1/4 c goat cheese, crumbled
Dried or fresh chopped parsley for garnish (if desired)
Heat broth, let stand. Heat olive oil in a large saute pan and sweat garlic, shallot and onion, add salt and pepper. Once translucent and fragrant, add Bulgar, stirring until grains are translucent.
Add wine, simmer and stir often until the pan is dry. Continue adding 2-3 cups broth, 1/2 c at a time until Bulgar is getting creamy and liquid is absorbed. Add mushrooms and soaking liquid, stir until liquid is absorbed. Continue stirring and adding liquid until Bulgar is creamy and the texture is right (as soft as you like). Salt and pepper to taste, remove from heat, add goat cheese and serve while still slightly soft and creamy, garnishing with parsley if desired.