This has been a great season for cabbage. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as much cabbage as I have this winter. This is partly due to an influx of wonderful new recipes, but also just an increased appreciation for the flavor of properly cooked cabbage. Plus, it’s way cheap.
The latest installment of “cabbage — it’s what’s for dinner” takes the form of a bulgur pilaf. I love bulgur, for its chewiness, nuttiness, and most importantly, easy-to-cookness. This pilaf accents the sweet earthy flavors of bulgur and cabbage with sumac, allspice, green onion and pine nuts. The sumac provides a cool sour note that makes this a little different than your (meaning my) usual workaday bulgur pilaf. And freshly ground allspice just makes your kitchen smell wonderful.
I made a full recipe of this, which seems to have made enough pilaf for a small army (fortunately the leftovers are excellent with a fried egg). I served it with a salmon fillet coated with a cumin and chile spice rub and seared briefly in olive oil. We also followed the recipe’s suggestion and mixed up some garlic yogurt, which was lovely with both the fish and the pilaf.
Bulgur Pilaf with Cabbage and Sumac
adapted from Moro East by Sam and Sam Clark (original recipe was in metric, this is more or less how I interpreted it)
- 1 ½ cups coarse bulgur
- 1/2 stick butter
- one bunch green onions, cut into half inch lengths
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- large handful pine nuts
- half of one cabbage, shredded
- 1 ½ cups chicken broth
- 1 Tbsp sumac powder
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
Rinse the bulgur in cold water and drain. Melt the butter in a large pot, add the green onions, pine nuts and allspice and cook for five minutes or so.
Put in the cabbage and saute until it wilts and cooks down. Add the bulgur, then the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, put the lid on and simmer furiously for five minutes (I added a little extra water at this point, since it seemed a bit dry). Turn down the heat to medium low and simmer another five minutes. Stir in the sumac and parsley, then pop the lid back on, turn off the heat and let it rest at least five minutes.
Mix up some garlic yogurt: plop a cup or so plain whole fat yogurt into a bowl, press a clove of garlic into it, and stir well.
Serve with the yogurt, plus some fish, or lamb, or sausage, or a fried egg, or…