Saturday, September 5, 2009

Bulgur wheat with aubergines and mint

Serves 2

Bulgur is one of those mild, warming grains that both soothes and satisfies. I find great value in its nubbly texture and nutty flavour. To me this is supper, but others may like to use it aside something else such as grilled chicken or a gravy rich stew. At this time of year, it's just one of the mesmerising display of cold mezzah we assemble as part of the opening scene of our Iftars.

6 tblsp olive oil
a small onion
a bay leaf
2 small aubergines
2 large cloves garlic
225g bulgur wheat
500ml vegetable stock
4 tomatoes
3 tblsp pine kernels, toasted
15-20 mint leaves

Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan, peel and finely slice the onion and let it cook slowly in the oil with the bay leaf. When the onion is soft and pale gold, add the aubergine, cut into 3cm pieces, and the peeled and chopped garlic.

Let the aubergine cook, adding more oil if necessary, until it is golden and soft. Pour in the bulgur wheat and the vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer gently for 15-20 minutes till the wheat is tender and almost dry. Halfway through cooking roughly chop the tomatoes and add them, then, once the wheat is cooked (it should still be nubbly and have some bite), stir in the toasted pine kernels and chopped mint leaves.

Check the seasoning, for sure it will need both salt and pepper.