Thursday, July 14, 2011

Orange Essance Bulgur Salad w/Chicken

I think the world is FREAKING out at warp speed.  Where is the time going?  Why is everything SO busy and SO draining and SO seemingly earth shatteringly important all of the sudden?  IS IT A FULL MOON????

Getting the flu this week, putting in a couple 14 hour days (because so many people think THEIR problems are more important than the next guys - you know....THE SKY IS FALLING - yeah right), babysitting, AND ONE COMPUTER crash (due to a bootkit and Malware - don't ask - thanks!!) and trying to keep up with the demands of "life", I haven't been able to get a blog out to save my life.

I actually HAVE been cooking - I have pictures galore, but alas, I couldn't get it to you.  FRUSTRATING!.

This is WAR!  I am drawing a line in the sand and getting this recipe written.    WHY?  Because you deserve to make this refreshing summer "salad".  Not only is it good, it's good for you...but mostly?  It's just good.

So what is this stuff called Bulgur and where do you buy it?  Bulgur is a parboiled, then dreid, quick cooking wheat grain.  Most of the bran is left on the grain, making this a recognized whole grain by the U.S.D.A. as well as the Whole Grains Council.  If you are looking to amp up the whole grain in your diets this is for you.   Bulgur can be found in natural food stores, Middle Eastern specialty grocers (think VALLEY PRODUCE MARKET), and some traditional grocery stores -  although I haven't found a normal market YET that carries it.  This is a common ingredient in Armenian, Syriac, Turkish, Middle Easter, and Mediterranean dishes.  It has a light, nutty flavor, with a great texture your mouth will LOVE.    Bulgur comes in four distinct grinds (sizes) (#1 Fine, #2 Medium, #3 Coarse and #4 Extra Coarse grinds.) You can use Bulgur just as you would rice, couscous, Quinoa, etc.... 

From a cost perspective, this should be INEXPENSIVE, but if you can find it at all in a regular grocery you might spend 5-6 dollars for a tiny bit.  In a middle Eastern Market or on the Internet, a package will cost far less. Seek this grain out, it's worth it.

If you are Wheat intolerant and need Gluten free,  or you cant locate Bulgar please make it with Short grain brown rice!!

Orange Essence Bulgar Salad with Chicken
This salad uses #3 course, but use whatever size you can find (or short grain brown rice)
The bulgur needs to cool so make this with enough time to cool the salad and let the flavors meld.

1 cup Bulgur, Course (#3)
2 cups Orange Juice
4 Chicken tenderloin strips thawed and diced
1tsp Chicken bouillon granules
2 Persian or 1 hothouse cucumber, small dice
1/2 mango - Peeled and diced
3/4 cup quartered cherry tomatoes
3 tbsp Chives or green onions, sliced thin
1/4 cup dried cranberries1/4 cup roasted pistachios (roughly chopped) optional
1 teaspoon Chopped parsley, or more to taste
1/8 cup olive oil
Juice of one fresh orange
1-2 tsp Cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

Gather your ingredients

This is what bulgar looks like

Bring the 2 cups of Orange juice to a boil and add Bulgur.  Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes.  Taste.  If tender, it's done.  Dont overcook it to mushyness.  It needs a bit of texture.  If there is more liquid (there shouldn't be) then drain it off.

**IMPORTANT NOTE:  Put Bulgur in the refrigerator until cool (or the freezer while you are making the rest of the dish - OR have Bulgur done well in advance)

In a pan, saute the chicken cubes in a bit of oil or spray, and cook until done and tender.  Sprinkle with the chicken bullion granules and cook/stir until well coated.  Remove to bowl.  Set aside.

For the dressing:  Squeeze juice of one orange into a small bowl, Add olive oil, cider vinegar to taste and salt and pepper.  TASTE and adjust seasonings, if needed.  (you may want more OJ, vinegar, Salt or pepper). Set aside

In a large bowl add  chicken cubes, cucumbers, tomatoes, dried cranberries, pistachios, chives or green onion, mango, and parsley. Add the cooled Bulgar and stir well.

Mix dressing with whisk and pour over Bulgar salad. Add chunky salt (I used Himalayan) and pepper.

We ate this right away and it was good.  But the left overs were in the fridge a few hours later were AMAZING and REFRESHING.  I would suggest making this in the morning...putting in Fridge until cold and have for lunch or make the night before.

The result?  A refreshing, delightfully different salad that is healthy, full of whole grain and filling. Your family will not notice any of that.  They'll notice it's just a DARN GOOD SUMMER SALAD they will ask for again and again!

From my home to yours, ENJOY!!

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