Friday, 18 October 2013

It's Neat to Eat Wheat!

Verdure Tritturate in Umido con Frumento di Bulgur & Achiote
Shredded Vegetables Stewed with Bulgur Wheat & Achiote

It was one of those nights again, when I got home late, stressed-out, hungry, cold and not having a clue what to fix for supper... perfect conditions for me to have to get creative in the kitchen! And no matter how tired I am, or how miserable I may be feeling, the thought of having to come up with something new always gives me a lift, the challenge of coming up with something decent to eat rather than resorting to carry-out or convenience food... sad will be the day that I ever do that!

At the same time, you all know me well enough to realize I am still sensible and down-to-earth enough to try to come up with a simple dish, something healthy and satisfying, inexpensive and fast to make. Like this. Oh- and it also did my favorite thing too... it emptied out my fridge to make room for some great new stuff from the market tomorrow! :-)

I wanted to make something comforting and easy, a soup or something I could just set on the stove, forget for 20 minutes whilst I took a shower wound-down from my busy day- and this is what the result of that thought was.

1 red pepper, 1 handful of runner beans, 1 small onion, 1 small carrot, 1 small parsnip and 4 cups of bulgur was all it took. I started by finely dicing the onion and letting it start sizzling away in a deep frying pan, with a pat of butter. Whilst it began to cook, I took the other vegetables and sliced them up finely on the diagonal, so that they looked pretty, but also so that they would cook more quickly!

Once the onion had become translucent, I added a tablespoon of achiote paste, salt, pepper, a little cayenne and little crushed garlic. I stirred the paste together with the onion and it soon dissolved down and at that point I added all of the other ingredients at the same time. As soon as I had stirred them in and everything was nicely coated with the spices, I deglazed the pan with some boiling water, so as not to slow down the cooking procedure, added the juice of half a lime and just a little cumin powder, stirred it through and waited until the water had been absorbed by the bulgur.

At that point, I added a generous handful of finely chopped parsley, checked the seasoning to make sure it wasn't lacking in salt, adjusted accordingly and then topped up the water again until it was standing about 1" above the surface of the bulgur and vegetables. I then reduced the heat and let it simmer away for the next 15-20 minutes. It was as simple as that!

20 minutes later, the vegetables were nicely cooked, they had imparted their flavor to the broth and therefore to the bulgur, which was now fluffy and filled with flavor from the achiote and everything else... I love one-pot meals! This made a nice change to rice or pasta and with just a handful of ingredients made a satisfying and healthy meal in a very short amount of time... which is something to remember... something to try... and something to enjoy! And I hope you do! All 3 of those things and more!

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