There are many reasons why I love my job, but one is our growing cookbook collection. It seems like every week there's one or two new additions. One book we have that is absolutely beautiful is Turquoise: A Chef's Travels in Turkey by Greg and Lucy Malouf. If you haven't looked at this book, go to your local library and get it. The recipes are inspiring as are the stunning pictures. By the time I had looked at it from back to front (I'm a pastry chef; I always start at the back); I was on expedia looking at airfare to Turkey (slight exaggeration). In all seriousness though, this book is worth looking at.
Some people love pizza, others chocolate, but me; I love Bulgur. The hot side uses it at Sofra, and I'm particularly obsessed fond of our carrot kibbeh. The more bulgur recipes I look for, the more I'm inspired to use it. I have found breads, puddings, cakes and loads of savory dishes. While discussing my bulgur obsession with Christy (of The perfect bite); she suggested I make the Clay Pot Chicken with Dates, sucuk and bulgur from Turquoise. She had made it, and highly recommended the dish. As always Christy was right. The dish has warmth of spices, and the comfort of home. Here's my adaptation of the recipe:
2 oz butter
1 Tbsp evoo
2 red onions, but into thick rings
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 long red peppers, seeded and cut into rings
2 long green peppers, seeded and cut into rings
1 long green chile, seeded and diced (they call for 2, but all I could find was jalapeno)
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 level tsp ground cinnamon
Generous splash of sherry
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 oz fine bulgur, washed
1 ½ C chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
(2 star anise-didn't have on hand so didn't use)
Few sprigs thyme
2 pounds of chicken breast on bone (they call for 2 1# chickens)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 oz spicy sausage (they call for sucuk-a Turkish sausage)
Preheat oven to 400. Put 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken and lightly brown the meat all over. Add the sausage and cook till it's golden on all sides. Remove the meat and pour out any excess fat (or leave it if you want). Add the butter and evoo to the pan.
Gently sweat the onions, garlic, peppers and chilies with the cumin and cinnamon for about 5 minutes or until the veggies soften. Add the sherry, tomatoes, bulgur, chicken stock, cinnamon stick, star anise and thyme and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and sausage to the vegetable mixture and tuck in the dates.
Cover the pan and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.