Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bulgar Wheat - Do it right this time!

Bulgar wheat is allegedly the first known use of wheat in history. The production process is still pretty much the same. The grain is soaked or boiled, dried, and then "polished" a little: meaning they remove a little bit of the bran. Yes, it removes some of the nutrition, but historically that would have been done to make it last longer, as it is the bran that goes rancid.
Bulgar wheat is still a very nutritious option when it comes to whole grains, but it seems to be a highly misunderstood ingredient . . . I think mainly because the different packaging in which it comes sends cooks in different directions. The only thing most companies agree on is that the ratio is 1 part grain to two parts liquid, and that's where I disagree, because it gives you an overcooked pile of mush. I find it works much better with 1 part grain to 1-1.5 parts liquid; resulting in a fluffier grain with complexity of texture and flavor. It's easy and fast.

Bulgar Wheat

1 medium shallot, chopped finely (or 2 tbsps of onion)
1 cup of bulgar
1 1/2 cup of liquid (water or stock with maybe a little wine)

1. Over medium heat, sweat the shallots in a little oil or butter until translucent. about 4 min. (sweat means they shouldn't take on any color)
2. Add the bulgar wheat and toast it in the pan. Stirring every minute or so for about 5-8 minutes until. It should look like this, note some darker brown specks, that's what you're going for.
3. Pour in the liquid, and bring it to a boil. Simmer for two minutes, then kill the heat and cover it. Wait ten minutes and it's ready to go.

For more salady applications spread it out on a cookie sheet to cool.

Here's the finished product-

I just folded in some sauteed veggies, very good stuff.
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