Gentle Readers, The Practical Cook has been a wee bit sleep deprived. When this happens, simple kitchen tasks can become more challenging. For instance, I had every intent to make my life easy and do a simple couscous dish the other night to go with salmon and asparagus. Then I grabbed the bulgar by mistake.
A new recipe was born. Secretly, I was thinking about a grain salad I had eaten recently at Foster’s Market. The balance of salt/sweet/chew was perfect. How to replicate? Apparently by Punting!
The Accidental Butternut Bulgar Recipe
1 average size butternut squash, peeled, scooped, and diced small
1 shallot, diced
1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
2 teaspoons brown sugar
juice and zest of 1 orange
1 cup bulgar
1 cup chicken stock (sub veggie stock if you’d like, or more orange juice, or water)
1 cup orange juice (fresh or commercial, I won’t tell)
1/3 cup pecans
a handful of parsley, chopped
1. Heat olive oil in a medium size skillet with a lid (though it shouldn’t be on right this second) over a strong medium heat until almost smoking. Add cumin seeds and sizzle for a few seconds until you can smell them. Immediately add butternut squash and shallots. Stir. Cook uncovered for 5 minutes, until shallots and squash are softened.
2. Add brown sugar and the juice from the orange to the pan. Stir and cover, reducing heat to a simmer. Cook for another 7 minutes until squash is done. Season with salt as needed, and take off heat to splash a little balsamic on the mixture. Keep covered, set aside.
3. Meanwhile, bring 1 1/4 cup water, stock and OJ to a boil. Add bulgar, stir, cover, reduce heat to lowest of the lows. Congratulate yourself that you did this as a single step and not as a big fat accident like I did, scrambling to add more liquid to the “expletive, that’s not couscous.” Cook the bulgar until the liquid is pretty much absorbed, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the bulgar is done, chewy but not crunchy, take off the heat and stir in the reserved orange zest.
4. Now take the bulgar mixture, add it to the squash mixture, and toss in the pecans and parsley. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, or additional balsamic as needed. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold.
First, I will say that I’m a fan of all the ingredients involved. After all, I did make the dish, even if it was an accident. That said, it freaking rocks!! I’m not usually that enthusiastic about my own food, but this time, I loved it. I really couldn’t stop eating it. My kids picked out parts of it, the texture variety may have been too challenging, but I consumed bowl after bowl. My name is The Practical Cook, and I have a bulgar problem.
Are you a fan of grain salads? What do you do when you grab the wrong ingredient? Tell me your story below in the comments section!
Send accolades, review requests, and food nonsense to practical cook at gmail dot com. Connect on Facebook: The Practical Cook Blog. (Thanks in advance for spreading The Practical Cook Blog word. Press “like” on Facebook today!)
Tomorrow, Forgiving Yourself in the Kitchen.