This year it got a little out of hand with the cookbooks. I made a list, checked it twice, and then before I knew it there were 8 new additions to the cookbook library. And yes, it is becoming a library because it crossed my mind the other day whether I should organize by frequency of use, last name, or title. Normally I would find such an increase in cooking inspiration rather overwhelming, but I have made it my mission to take it one book at a time. First on the list is Yotam Ottolenghi’s book Plenty. To say that I enjoy this book is an understatement; I have spent many a night ogling the glossy pictures and daydreaming about whether I have all the ingredients to make a certain dish. So far I have not followed a single recipe faithfully, and yet no matter what I put in the chickpea sourdough soup, it takes all my self-control not to go back for another bowl. Taking pictures of the chickpea sourdough soup is on my to-do list this week (I’ve already made the soup a handful of times in the last two months), but to tide you over, here is an adaptation of the recipe for Itamar’s bulgur pilaf from Plenty. If you haven’t cooked with bulgur before, it’s very easy, somewhere between rice and couscous in that you can boil it or steam it, or as often happens when I’m not paying enough attention, a little of both.
Bulgur Pilaf with Red Peppers and Raisins
(Enough for at least 4 servings)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large white onion, cut into thin slices
2 large red bell peppers, cut into thin slices
1/2 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
2/3 cups raisins
1 cup bulgur wheat
1 3/4 cups water (or a little more if your lid doesn’t fit tightly)
Salt and pepper
Minced green onions for garnish
Begin by sauteing the onion and pepper in the olive oil in a sturdy pot. After 15 minutes or so the onion and pepper should be nice and soft. Add the crushed tomatoes, sugar, coriander seeds, and raisins and cook for another 2 minutes or so. Add the bulgur, water, and salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil and then turn off the heat, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid, and set the timer for 20 minutes. Once the time is up, fluff the pilaf with a fork and serve with the green onions sprinkled on top or mixed in. Easy peasy.