My son, who is 18 going on 30, announced that he was vegetarian.
I said: ” no problem, Lebanese cuisine has hundreds of vegetarian dishes! ” I immediately thought of burghul be-dfeen. Instead of lamb shanks, I will use mushrooms! Amazingly simple and hearty and delicious. He loved it. All you need is the right bulghur, which needs to be coarse or a #4. I used a chicken broth but a vegetable cube will do fine if you are vegan; with some onions, garbanzo beans, and sliced white mushrooms, you can make this dish in 20 minutes! It is usually served with plain yoghurt on the side. I was reading an interview of Chef Ramzi, our Lebanese Paul Bocuse, and he said to experiment with traditional recipes. I felt I did just that today, and it was successful!
INGREDIENTS: Quantity will feed 4 to 6 people.
1 cup of coarse or #4 bulghur, preferably the unbleached kind if you can find it
2 cups (approximately) of cooked garbanzo beans
2 cups of chopped yellow onions
A handful of garlic cloves, peeled
2 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth, preferably homemade
1 to 2 teaspoons of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of allspice, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of white pepper, or more
1 basket of sliced white mushrooms (about 2 cups)
2 to 4 Tablespoons of clarified butter (samneh) or olive oil
- In a large pot, heat the butter or oil. Saute the chopped onions and after 5 minutes when the onions are translucent, add the garbanzo beans and saute them until both the onions and beans are browned nicely (you can add a teaspoon of brown sugar).
- Now add the mushrooms and the garlic cloves and saute a couple minutes until they cook a bit, then add all the spices and taste to adjust seasoning. Add the burghul and make sure it is well coated with the oil or butter, if not add additional butter.
- Add the broth (preferably simmering) and cover the pot. It will take about 15 minutes to cook and the top will make holes like rice. Taste it to make sure it is well cooked and not crunchy. If so, add a little more broth, 1/4 cup at a time and cook a few more minutes.
- Let it cool on a serving plate. Serve either hot, or warm, or at room temperature with some plain yoghurt on the side. Sahteyn!
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