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Eggplant Bulgur Pilaf
1 h 15 m
“One of the most important dishes at a Turkish table, this simple pilaf recipe features a combination of eggplant and bulgur. It is often an accompaniment to meat or chicken. ”
1 cup bulgur (see Note), preferably coarse
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 pound eggplant (see Tip), diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 bunch scallions, chopped
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 large carrot, peeled and shredded
2 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¾ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth (optional)
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro
1Place bulgur in a large deep bowl, add enough warm water to cover by 2 inches, cover and let stand for 1 hour. Drain; set aside.
2Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggplant. Do not stir for the first minute; then cook, stirring, until beginning to soften, 4 to 5 minutes. Push the eggplant to the sides, making a well in the middle for the other ingredients.
3Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the middle of the pan. Add onion, scallions, bell pepper, carrot and garlic. Do not stir for 2 minutes; then mix all the ingredients, including the eggplant, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.
4Reduce heat to medium-low. Make a well in the ingredients again and add tomato paste to the middle. Do not stir for 30 seconds; then turn the tomato paste over and cook for another 15 seconds. Add the drained bulgur, oregano, salt and pepper; stir well to combine. Heat through. If the eggplant is not completely tender, stir in broth, cover the pan and simmer until the eggplant reaches your desired tenderness. Remove from the heat; stir in parsley (or cilantro).
Note: Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. Bulgur just needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses. Look for it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets, near other grains.
Tip: If you're using large, common globe eggplant, which can be more bitter than other varieties, salting beforehand can reduce bitterness. To salt: Place prepped eggplant in a large colander over a bowl and mix with 1 tablespoon salt. Top the eggplant with a plate weighted down with cans. Let sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before using. Rinse well with cold water, then dry with paper towels.