Tuesday, March 6, 2012

a side to beat all sides






































Say hello to what will quickly become your new favorite side dish. Since first discovering this recipe in Melissa Clark's fantastic new cookbook, Cook This Now, we have been making it as often as possible. This recipe is really more of a formula, ready for you to plug in the grain, dried fruit, nut, and green of your choice. No bulgur? Try quinoa or barley. Don't like dried apricots? Try a dried fruit you love instead like dried cherries or raisins. No pistachios on hand? Walnuts or pine nuts would be beautiful instead. No chard? Try it with spinach or kale. This humble recipe will blow you away and pairs perfectly with chicken, turkey, or fish. Pairing it with a fried egg also works perfectly when you're in need of a quick, filling lunch. Go to it and let me know which combination you try!

Bulgur "Pilaf" with Swiss Chard and Dried Apricots
from Melissa Clark's Cook This Now

1 cup bulgur
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried apricots, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup rough chopped raw pistachios
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 bunch Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves chopped
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Freshly squeezed lemon juice or pomegranate molasses, for drizzling

Directions
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the bulgur and cinnamon stick and cook for about 9 minutes. Stir in the apricots and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until the bulgur is tender. Drain well and discard the cinnamon.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the pistachios, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to bowl.

3. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel. Return it to medium heat and add the oil, garlic, and shallot. Cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the chard, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and the pepper. Cook, tossing, until the chard is wilted, about 3 minutes. Stir in the bulgur mixture and the pistachios. Toss over the heat for 1 minute until warmed through. Transfer to serving plates and drizzle with lemon juice or pomegranate molasses.

My love for New York Times columnist Melissa Clark is no secret, but I have to sing the praises of her two cookbooks, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite and most recently, Cook This Now. Both are excellent, everyday eating cookbooks. We have been obsessively working our way through each book, continually amazed by how delicious and easy every recipe is. Many that we have tried are now in heavy rotation in our house. Clark manages to keep her recipes simple, utilize seasonal ingredients, and create delicious, elevated food. I highly recommend picking up one or both of her books!

1 comment:

Dawn said...

Definitely yummy!