Friday, June 24, 2011

Tomato Bulgur and Wild Mushroom Saute

Sunday morning.  It has a different feel than the rest of the week...quiet, unhurried, and lackadaisical.   Always an early riser, I appreciate the quiet time I have to myself.   I'll open the windows and brew a pot of coffee.  Sunday morning 'acoustic sunrise' hums from my radio, my dog lying at my feet.   For me, it's these moments when I most enjoy my time in the kitchen.  There is no sense of urgency to get dinner on the table with my mind fluttering full of work week obligations.  It's quiet, relaxing, and allows me to be creative and experimental.  When I am fortunate enough to have a Sunday morning such as this, I can also get a jump start on my week.  By creating a dish or two, I know I'll have something to come home to amid those late night arrivals.  This past Sunday, I came up with this little number using bulgur as it's building block.

Bulgur is best known as the ingredient in tabouli salad.  Often underused and overlooked, it could certainly be substituted in many recipes that call for rice or couscous.  Bulgur has a slightly nutty flavor and like all grains, is really just a blank canvas.  My mother was the one who first turned me onto bulgur.  She makes a cold bulgur salad with tomatoes, red onion, and cucumbers that is great scooped onto crackers.  When cooking the bulgur, she uses a can of diced tomatoes.  I've borrowed this idea to create a tomato infused bulgur.  It's an ideal base to blanket the wild mushroom saute.  I've used a mix of baby bella, shitake, and oyster mushrooms here, but use what you like.  Thick portobello slices would even be great here.  The tomato bulgur soaks up the juicy mushroom and onion mixture.  Great on a Sunday, or any day.

~Tomato Bulgur and Wild Mushroom Saute Recipe~

1 cup bulgur
1 (14.5oz) can diced tomatoes in their juices
2 cups vegetable stock or water (for bulgur)
1/2 cup vegetable stock (for mushroom saute)
2 onions diced
1 clove garlic diced
5 cups mixed mushrooms 
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste
parsley to garnish

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat.  Add first onion and cook a few minutes until translucent.  Add can of diced tomatoes and vegetable stock/water and bring to a boil.  Add in bulgur, cover, and reduce heat.  Depending on how thick your canned tomato variety is, you may need more or less cooking time.  I have made this a few times and found the cooking time to vary.  You'll want to cook the bulgur until the liquid is absorbed and the bulgur is tender.  It should take approximately 25-30  minutes.  A few tips: adjust the heat and remove the lid towards the end of cooking time to help the liquid evaporate if you need to (letting stand for about 10 min).  Alternatively, add more vegetable stock/water if the liquid has evaporated and the bulgur needs more time.

In a large saute pan, heat remaining tbsp of olive oil and butter.  Add second diced onion, garlic, and thyme, cooking a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the thyme is fragrant.  Add in in white wine, letting it come up to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer just a few minutes until the liquid has evaporated by half.  Add in mixed mushrooms and vegetable broth.  Saute until the mushrooms are tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve the mushroom saute over bulgur.  Garnish with parsley.  If you wanted to get all fancy, you could even drizzle a little truffle oil over the top of the dish.  I had a little bottle on hand  I splurged on for a fancy at home dinner.  Not a bad little touch.  Serves 4.

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