My maternal grandmother (aka Yeranuhe Nanny) used a lot of bulgur and potatoes in her everyday cooking. In fact, most of her dishes were suitable for a vegetarian diet, thus fitting for Lent. Meat was served in small portions on the occasions it was served at all; larger cuts of meat – either lamb, chicken or turkey – were served mainly for very special meals.
One dish I recall is Nanny's bulgur-potato kufteh shaped like thin cigars and served with lettuce leaves as a wrap. When grape leaves from her back yard arbor were young and tender, she’d serve those in place of the lettuce leaves. Nanny made enough of her own red pepper paste (an important ingredient in so many of her recipes - including this one) in late summer to last until the next season.
Such fond memories!
Bulgur and Potato Kufteh
Yield: 8 pieces
Yield: 8 pieces
½ cup #1 (fine) bulgur
3 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup finely chopped red peppers (NOTE: a combination of red and green peppers can be used)
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ lb. boiled, peeled potatoes
¼ cup finely chopped parsley
1 Tbsp. red pepper paste softened with 1 Tbsp. water (tomato paste with a dash of cayenne pepper can be substituted)
½ tsp. cumin
Dash of black pepper
1 tsp. salt
NOTE: This recipe can easily be doubled.
1. Place bulgur in a bowl adding just enough warm water to cover it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Allow to sit for about 10 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Test bulgur to make sure it has softened to a tender, yet slightly chewy texture. Drain any excess liquid.
2. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Sautė the peppers and onions until they soften, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
3. Gently mash the boiled potatoes and set aside.
|Bulgur - potato mixture prior to shaping|
5. Shape as desired –cigars; round, flat patties, etc. Arrange on a platter
To serve: wrap in lettuce or grape leaves - or simply eat with a fork!