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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Self-ly Dreamin'

So, I sort of bogarted this recipe for Bulgur Risotto from "Self" magazine. Well, not sort of. I did. But I took their recipe (which no offense, looks a little on the boring side) and made it my own. Normal and usual, I know. This month's "Self" had a whole article on whole grains and why carbs are actually GOOD for you. (By the way, this is always music to my freaking ears, no matter how many times I read/hear/see it!)

Bulgur Wheat is super, "super" high in fiber, and when mixed with the protein from the chicken, you have a "super" meal. Plus, having literally just gotten halfway through my bowl, it is incredibly filling, and I'm guessing will be the bomb, cold, for lunch tomorrow. Not to mention, when you talk about things I'm almost positive I've never used before in my cooking-life, Bulgur is right up there at the top.

I spiced it up a bit, and decided it needed a bit of fat--hence the goat cheese to finish. The goat cheese melts beautifully, and adds the perfect tang to balance out the dish.

Look. This meal is healthy. I'm not pretending it's not. It's a weeknight alternative to eating something LESS healthy, especially if you're feeling less than fabulous about your recent eating habits. (Ahem, I wonder who I'm referring to??) But it's actually REALLY good. I'm home alone tonight, while my rockstar husband plays a 'Fat Tuesday' gig, but I will absolutely recommend it to him for his 1:30am "just got home from gigging" meal. And if you're on the vegetarian side of life (LN, you know this is for you) I think it would be AWESOME with browned tofu instead of chicken. You could probably toss just about anything in here and it would taste good!

I'm going to work on this ingredient a bit, so I'm sure you'll see it again. I've also stocked my pantry with things like Quinoa and Wheatberries to try and use them, too. I eat sooo healthy, but sometimes I like to remember that certain carbs do GOOD things, instead of only adding thickness to my bod.

And for those of you wondering just what the HELL bulgur wheat is, if I can find it in the boondocks of SW Michigan, trust me. So can you.

Please, comment and let me know your thoughts on whole grains, carbs, and thoughts if you make this!

Bulgur and Chicken Risotto
2 TBSP olive oil, divided (1 and 1)
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or something similar, or tofu, or pork) largely diced
1 shallot, minced
3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1 C bulgur wheat
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1 TBSP oregano
1 TBSP red pepper flakes
1/2 C white wine
2 C chicken stock, heated on the stovetop (if you're going veggie, feel free to use vegetable stock)
1 C Frozen peas
1 red bell pepper, diced
zest and juice of 1 lemon
Goat Cheese for topping

In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil and brown off chicken, seasoning with salt and pepper when you add to pan. Remove from pan, set aside.
Add remaining olive oil and shallot, cook 2 minutes
Add garlic, cook additional 1 minute
Add bulgur, salt, pepper, and oregano. Cook 2 minutes, to coat bulgur in oil and vegetables
Add wine, cook 2 minutes, until the alcohol cooks out and the wine has nearly evaporated
Add stock, 1 ladle at a time, stirring as you add to develop the starches.
Continue adding stock until bulgur is slightly soupy, about 10 minutes
Add chicken, stir. Cook another 2 minutes
Add pepper and peas, cook 1-2 minutes, until peppers and peas are heated through
(If you need to add more stock to keep it creamy, rock on.)
Add zest and juice of lemon, turn off heat.
Check your seasonings and add salt and pepper if necessary.
Spoon into bowl, add small amount of crumbled goat cheese (preferably by hand)

Drink with water, because come ON people, we're being uber-healthy! Or, a lovely glass of Sancerre or a zero-oaked Chardonnay.

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