fall back

Hello out there. Sorry for my radio silence of late. Things have been hectic here since we last talked. There has been an embarrassing incidence peanut-butter-and-pickle-sandwich-for-dinner-kinds-of-nights around here and not enough creations I felt were worthy to share with you. But I just picked the other half of Sugar Cured up from the airport (and she brought me New York bagels, bless her soul) and hearing about all her food adventures in NYC (which you all will undoubtedly hear about soon) made me realize I was long overdue for a post.

As I’ve probably told you before, and as you might have guessed by the peanut butter and pickle ref – don’t knock it til you’ve tried it – most of my food habits are yolked to my (often bizzare) cravings. And the other day I got a crazy craving for stuffing. Now I’m nearly certain that I’ve never even tasted stuffing and I don’t really know what it’s supposed to taste like, so it’s more likely that I was craving the idea of it- salty and sweet and celery and thyme and onions and carbs. And I’m just as certain that the Kate-original-creation that resulted in no way resembles any stuffing that any reasonable person makes. But it satisfied the craving to a T and I can’t wait to make it again. It uses mostly ingredients that I always have on hand but manages to be full of enough unexpected flavors to be uniquely craveable. You might even be tempted to skip the stuffing and put this on the Thanksgiving table in its stead.

If you’re not the type of person that hoards mason jars of strange grains in her pantry (ahem, not that I know anybody like that) you might not be too familiar with bulgur. Think of it like couscous with more substance. For most of my bulgur recipes, I just pour some boiling water over it and let it sit on the countertop until it’s soft, but for this recipe I opted to simmer it in broth and I liked the results.

“Stuffing” Salad with Bulgur

1 c bulgur (substitute couscous or quinoa but seriously you should try bulgur)

1 c water + 1 c broth or 2 c water + 1 square vegetable bullion

1 T olive oil

1 T butter

1/2 c onion, finely chopped

2 large shallots, chopped

2 stalks celery, diced

1 carrot, diced

1 medium sweet potato

2-3 large handfuls of kale, roughly chopped

Several sprigs fresh thyme or 1/2 t dried thyme

Balsamic vinegar

1/2 c almonds, roughly chopped or slivered

1/2 c dried cranberries

1/3 crumbled goat cheese

Cook the sweet potato, using whatever method you prefer. My preferred method is by microwave. Stab the potato with a fork, cook on high for 4-5 minutes, flip it over, and cook another 2 minutes or so, continuing in minute intervals until it is soft but not mushy. Allow to cook, then remove the skin and cut into 1/2″ cubes

Meanwhile, put the bulgur and the broth and/or water in a saucepot and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat, and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the liquid gone. Set aside with the lid on to allow the grain to continue to steam.

While the bulgur cooks, prepare the vegetables. Melt butter with olive oil in a large skillet, then add the onions and shallots and cook until soft and translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook until just soft. Add the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Then add the kale and cook until it starts to wilt, 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the veggies with several glugs of balsamic vinegar (sorry y’all- I don’t have it in me to measure my vinegar). Cook just a minute longer so all the flavors can combine. Mix together grains, sweet potato, vegetables, cranberries, cheese, and almonds in a large bowl. Serve warm, at room temperature, or cold.

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