We love this Middle Eastern staple grain because of its versatility and satisfying nature. This delicious vegetarian recipe can be served as a side or a main, and made ahead to be assembled and warmed through just before serving. The soft caramelised aubergines combined with creamy yoghurt and spiced burghul makes for a satisfying meal that has fast become one of my family's favourites.
"Burghul, also know as bulghur wheat, is a versatile Middle Eastern staple. It is a key ingredient in tabouli and kibbeh, and can be used in soup, stuffings, burgers and casseroles.
Burghul is a Persian word meaning ‘bruised grain’. Not to be confused with cracked wheat (which is not pre-cooked), burghul is wheat that has been steamed or parboiled, dried and ground. It therefore requires little preparation. The tender grain has a chewy texture and a light, nutty flavour. It is traditionally used as a side dish in place of couscous or rice." ~ via taste.com.au
You can make just the burghul and tomato, if you like (without the aubergine and preserved lemon yoghurt) and serve it as a side. With the aubergine and yoghurt, though, it makes a satisfying vegetarian main. You can make all the elements up to a day ahead, just keep separate in the fridge, warm through and assemble before serving.
Serves four as a main, and eight as a side. Recipe from "Ottolenghi Simple".
2 aubergines, cut into 3cm chunks (500g)
105ml olive oil
2 onions, finely sliced (320g)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground allspice
400g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
250g Burghul wheat
200g Greek-style yoghurt
1 small preserved lemon, pips discarded, skin and flesh finely chopped (25g)
10g mint leaves, finely shredded
salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200°C fan.
Place the aubergines in a large bowl with 4 tablespoons of oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Mix well and then spread out on a large parchment-lined baking tray. Roast for 35-40 minutes, stirring halfway through, until the aubergines are caramelised and soft. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Add the remaining oil to a large sauté pan (for which you have a lid) and place on a medium-high heat. Once hot, add the onion and fry for 8 minutes, stirring a few times, until caramelised and soft. Add the garlic and allspice and fry for 1 minute, stirring continuously until the garlic is aromatic and starting to brown. Add the cherry tomatoes, mashing them with a potato masher to break them up. Stir in the tomato paste, 400ml of water and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 12 minutes. Add the burghul, stir so that it is completely coated and then remove from the heat. Set aside for 20 minutes, for the bulgur to absorb all the liquid.
In a medium bowl, mix together the yoghurt with the preserved lemon, half the mint and 1/8 teaspoon of salt.
Divide the burghul between four plates. Serve with the yoghurt and aubergine on top with a sprinkle of the remaining mint.
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