Monday, January 12, 2009

Bulgur Pilaf with Ground Chicken

Bulgur pilafs can be prepared in numerous ways in Turkey. This pilaf includes both chicken and vegetables. Traditionally, Turkish pilafs are made with either lentils, chickpeas, vermicelli, orzo pasta, vegetables, lamb or beef. The chicken worked out perfectly in the pilaf, however, if you prefer, you may substitute with beef or lamb. I actually liked the chicken in the pilaf as it is lighter than beef.

This recipe was given to me by my sister who created this dish for a Christmas party. I was not sure how the pilaf would turn out with the cranberries and the lemon juice, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how the combination of flavors turned out. In Turkish cuisine, currants and raisins are widely used, especially in pilafs, so the cranberries were not foreign in the pilaf. The lemon juice also provided a mysterious pleasant taste that left you wondering where it is coming from. This pilaf can be eaten as a meal by itself as it includes grains, vegetables and meat all in one dish.

After my husband ate this pilaf, he began teasing me that my sisters are naturally good cooks and it must be something running in the family. I think he is right as both my sisters enjoy cooking as a hobby and every once in a while contribute to my blog by either giving me recipes or ideas. It sounds like, only if we were all together, we could start a restaurant!

2 ½ cups bulgur (medium grind)
1 ½ lb ground chicken
1 yellow onion (chopped)-optional
1 green bell pepper (diced)
2 ripe tomatoes (peeled and diced)
½ cup dried cranberries (tart & sweetened)
1/3 cup brown lentils
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
5 cups of chicken broth or water
2 tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper

In a large pot, heat olive oil and place the chicken. Cook until the chicken is cooked or takes a whitish color; stirring occasionally. Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add lentils and sauté approximately 5 minutes. Add cranberries, green peppers and tomatoes. Squeeze the lemon on top and sauté another 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth and let it boil. Add the bulgur, the salt and the black pepper and cook covered on medium heat for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed in the bulgur.

Decorate with pickled small peppers, parsley and onion. Serve warm.

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Mediterranean kiwi said...

intersting use of bulgur - when we say pilafi in crete, we only mean with white rice - and pilafi is the traditional cretan wedding dish

Laurie Constantino said...

Your husband is right about your cooking skills - I really like the creative use of cranberriess. (And I finally got the subscription to your blog working.)

Joie de vivre said...

How wonderful that you have a whole family of good cooks. It must make for wonderful get togethers!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Med kiwi, in Turkey the word 'pilaf' goes for both bulgur and rice, however there were times when I'd say 'pilaf' in front of some Turks and the first thing that comes to their mind is pilaf with rice.

Lauire, thanks for your kind comment. Believe me, I have a lot of areas that need improvement :) Glad the subscription thing worked.

Joie de vivre, yes it's great, although I wish we could have those rare get togethers more often. We're all so far away :( Thanks for stopping by.

Geri said...

Sounds delicious. I like the idea of cranberries in it. My husband loves them.

Navita said...

long time no see...bulgur looks awesome. :)

lisaiscooking said...

This sounds like a fantastic meal! Bulgur, lentils, chicken, it all sounds perfect together.

History of Greek Food said...

You were recommended to me by Maria of Organically cooked and I have just finished having a good look on your website.I will try some of your recipes soon!
I love your bulgur pilaf and its elegant flavors; In past, bulgur pilafs containing onions and tomatoes, or vegetables, or snails, or lamb etc. were common Greek rural dishes, even if were not called pilafs. It's a pity that many Greek bulgur recipes are not in use today.
Thanks for sharing!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Geri, thank you. Yes definitely the cranberries sound and taste good in the pilaf.

Navita and Lisa thank you.

History of Greek Food, thanks for stopping by. It's so nice of Maria to recommend my blog. She has an excellent blog too.

I wonder why bulgur pilafs with onions, peppers and other vegetables are no longer consumed in Greece. I know that there is a trend toward modern food all over, so some of the best traditional recipes may be neglected.

History of Greek Food said...

Bulgur and trachanas were staple foods of Greeks until very recently. Trachanas is still found in every home, mainly during the winter, but strangely enough, bulgur pilafs have been almost totally replaced by rice pilafs. However they are hot stuff in Greek gourmet restaurants!

Summer said...

I love this recipe, i like the combination of adding sweet item (cranberries) to the other ingredients. gotta try it sometime! thanks for sharing.