First let’s talk about bulgur wheat (AKA bulghur, bulgher or bulgar) , a less fashionable cousin of quinao and buckwheat, but just as yummy and half the price. Bulgur has a nutty taste and is rich in protein perfect for my running readers and tasty for the rest of you. In case you are wondering, it’s made from ground wheat berries and in America it is called cracked wheat. It’s most commonly used in Tabbouleh, but I love it as a cous cous substitute. I do NOT like cous cous. If you’ve still got buckwheat hanging around from my Nutella Porridge than use that, or quinoa would work too. But don’t over look the humble bulgur, this beef and bulgur bake could be the start of a loving relationship.
Now the lesson is over, let’s get back to the food. I’ll be brutally honest with you, this was a bit of an accident. A combination of using up what was in the cupboard, trying to empty the freezer and a delivery of veggies from David’s Dad’s allotment.I rarely cook dinner without a recipe because of my meal planning obsession but as this idea came together in my mind on the tube I noted down my plan. As I chopped, cooked and baked I thought “this looks surprisingly good and I’ve sort of written a recipe”. So I whipped the camera out, took a few piccies and refined the recipe for you after dinner. I hope you enjoy it.
NB: The smoked cheddar I had planned to grate over the top had mysteriously disappeared when I got in from work (echem – David) so I had to use parmesan. Strong cheddar or even red leicester would look and taste better so that’s what I have recommended in the recipe but not what is in the picture.
- 120g bulgur wheat
- 400ml chicken stock
- 125g minced beef
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp capers
- 2 courgettes, sliced
- 60g fine asparagus, chopped
- 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 400g tin tomatoes
- 50g cheese for topping, e.g. smoked cheddar, red leicester or similar.
- Simmer the bulgur wheat in a small, lidded pan with the stock for 15 minutes. Check after 10 minutes because you may need to add a couple tbsp water. All the liquid should be fully absorbed. Put to one side.
- Preheat the oven to 180'c
- In a large pan heat the oil. Then add your meat, onion, garlic, thyme, bay leaf and cayenne paper. Allow the meet to brown all over and the onion to soften.
- Whilst that browns, heat a knob of butter or oil in a frying pan and sautee the courgette, asparagus and capers.
- When the vegetables are nicely browned and softened add them to the beef, then add the tomatoes, and worcestershire sauce. Taste, season and give it a good stir.
- Pour all the mixture into a baking dish and grate the cheese over the top
- Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and cooked through.
This is a great prep ahead recipe. You can pour it into your baking dish, cool, cover and refrigerate. When ready to eat, simply grate over the cheese and bake at 180’c for 30-40 minutes.
Do you make your dinners on the fly or follow a recipe?