I’ve never been one to follow recipes before, so when Noah’s mom presented me with a Turkish cookbook for Chanukah (I heart Turkish food), I considered it a challenge. Because, although I’m not exactly a picky eater, I am particularly picky about how my food is prepared.
I love the control I get from cooking in my own home. Butter? Whole milk? Ehh, I’m fine with it, but I typically save such ingredients for hearty restaurant meals. On my turf, I try to appreciate the value of nutritious items, instead doctoring up delicious recipes with healthful twists and turns for a dish I can be proud of putting in my body.
One of the first dishes I decided to try was tomato and bulgar stew served with a garlicky yogurt. It’s listed in the cookbook as an appetizer or side dish, and so in true Stacy fashion, I decided to add chickpeas to the mix (both for bulk and the addition of protein, as most meals cooked in my apartment are meatless). Plus, chickpeas are a traditional Turkish ingredient and would pair well with the others, I figured.
If you’re looking for an incredibly easy recipe that requires little more than what’s already on your shelves, then I definitely suggest trying this one out. Served warm on a cold day or cold in the summer, it’s the perfect little meal for the person with a taste for Turkish or the runner concerned with effective fueling.
Below, I’ve written the entire recipe as it appears in the cookbook. In bold, you’ll see changes, additions and exclusions if you’re a health-fiend like myself.
What You Need
2 tablespoons butter ***I left out the butter and replaced it with a little extra EVOO instead
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil ***To make up for the butter, I added 1 to 2 tablespoons of EVOO
2 medium onions, finely chopped ***I used a small and a medium onion
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and cut into quarters
3 tablespoons coarse bulgar ***I went with four tablespoons since I like the grainy texture and wanted to create a meal
1/3 cup water, if needed
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
What To Do
1. In a 3-quart pot over medium heat, heat the butter and olive oil. ***I only heated olive oil here
2. Saute the onions and garlic, stirring constantly, 4 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook for 10 minutes. ***I forgot to peel my tomatoes in advance. This wasn’t a big deal, as the skin peeled off naturally, and I was able to pick most out (and put them right into my mouth).
4. Add the bulgar, salt and pepper to taste. ***I also added the chickpeas here. Also, I actually incorporated the salt and pepper about 5 minutes into step 3, then waited 5 minutes for the mixture to become infused with the spices before adding bulgar. I’m not sure if it makes a difference, really.
5. Mix well; if there is not about 1/2 cup of liquid in the pot from the tomatoes and onions, add water. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
6. If all the liquid has been absorbed and the bulgar is not cooked, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, covered, over low heat.
7. Remove from heat and place the stew in a shallow serving dish. Adjust seasoning if desired. Sprinkle with parsley. Serve with Garlicky Yogurt and whole wheat bread.
8. To make Garlicky Yogurt: Simply add 3 minced garlic cloves and 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to 1 1/2 cups of plain yogurt (I used fat-free).
9. Serve all together, and add a side salad if you’re still looking for more veggies and greens.
- Is this a recipe you’d ever cook up? Would you serve it as an appetizer, as listed in the cookbook, or for a full meal (which I did)? As runners, athletes, health nuts, whatever, would you make any additional changes?