Chicken an bulgur

     Welcome! This episode with From Our Dinner Table we are featuring chicken recipes, but not just any chicken recipes, they have to be our favorite. So for me, that meant it had to be this recipe. It's delicious, and fairly easy, and has a ton of flavor. I made it at least monthly for my family.  

   Lebanese cooking is a delightful mix of refreshing herbs and vegetables, an abundance of spices and seasonings, and lots of grains and legumes. Meatless dishes are common along with an endless array of salads. Poultry is eaten as is a lot of seafood. Red meat is less common, with beef being the least seated out of the genre. It is healthy and flavorful, and cannot be beaten. It's always a delight to see at the dinner table. 

     This particular dish is another delicious offering from Hadia's Lebanese Cuisine, one of my favorite Lebanese bloggers. It's an easy, comforting, and super tasty bulgur and chicken recipe. The best part, well, aside from eating it, is it can be prepped in advance.  I took her advice and cooked the chicken and broth the night before. Then when it was time for dinner the next day,  I started with cooking the second onion. Bulgar is a quick-cooking grain too, which helps. Prepping the night before saves a lot of time during the busiest part of the day. 

Favorite Chicken Recipes

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      I've been trying to make sure our grocery budget stay in check and I've been doing that with a couple useful tricks. I hope to get to more on that in a post eventually but for now, I'll just share this one. One of the large bulk clubs in town sells cooked rotisserie chickens for $49.98. Which is great on its own, but I can usually get a second meal out of one chicken. Sometimes I serve it as is the first night, and sometimes I pull the breast meat, legs, and wings, and we throw it in salads or eat with a simple crudite tray. 
     For the second meal, I place the frame and enough water to cover in the instant pot and cook it for an hour. Then we have soup and usually enough meat that is easy to pick once it's that soft, for a second dinner. Making it fairly economical. So this meal is the second night's meal. I place the frame and the spices into the instant pot before bringing it to pressure and then strain and clean the meat off the bones. the difference between making it with a whole chicken and a leftover one is obviously less meat, but I've found with the hearty bulgar, a refreshing chop salad, and of course still a decent amount of chicken, it's still a family favorite. 

Chicken and Bulgar Pilaf Recipe
1 whole chicken or 1 leftover chicken frame
10 c. water
2 medium onions, 1 chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1/8th tsp. ground cardamom
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 c.spaghetti noodles, broken into small pieces
1 3/4 c. coarse bulgur
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. butter

In a large pan combine the whole chicken or frame, water, 1 of the onions cut in half, the cinnamon stick, cardamom, bay leaves, peppercorns, and bouillon cubes. Simmer for 90 minutes or until the chicken is removed easily from the bone. 

Remove the chicken from the liquid and allow it to cool slightly, until cool enough to handle. Remove all the meat and return the bones to the chicken liquid. Simmer the liquid until it is reduced to four cups. Drain liquid once through a strainer and then again through a fine-mesh strainer. 

Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium-large skillet. Add the other onion, the chopped one, and saute until it is completely translucent. Add the pasta and cook, stirring constantly, until the pasta is browned. Watch it carefully, it will burn quickly. Once it is browned add the bulgur and cook for another few seconds to coat the bulgar. 

Stir in the reduced chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add the chicken to the pan, replace the lid, and cook over low for an additional 10 minutes. 

Remove from the heat, fluff the bulgur, and serve with a chopped salad.


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