Tabbouleh Salad

Okay, so maybe it’s below freezing outside today.  And maybe it will be in the single digits a few times this week.  That doesn’t mean I can’t make a summery salad of awesome, right?

I went into dinner prep last night a little bit worried.  You see, the recipe calls for a lot of parsley.  A lot of parsley.  But I can safely say from the other side of the experience that it’s tasty.  So tasty that I’ll even eat this salad without the suggested pita wrapping.  You know it’s a good salad if I’ll eat it without a recommended serving of carbs on the side.

What is this wonder?  It’s tabbouleh salad, found in Mad Hungry Men (still a great cookbook).

mh_1029_tabbouleh_hd

photo from marthastewart.com

salad in bowl

bright, colorful, and a bit messier than Martha’s version

This is how I made it…

Tabbouleh Salad (with Chicken)

Serves 4 hungry people, more if portions are dainty.  Takes about 20 minutes to prepare.

  • 1/2 cup uncooked bulgur wheat
  • 2 tomatoes, diced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 scallions (both white and green parts), trimmed and thinly sliced (1 cup or less)
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped fresh curly parsley, stems removed
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 1-2 tablespoons to cook chicken
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt (plus extra for chicken)
  • black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • feta cheese
  • pita bread

Directions

  1. Rinse the bulgur wheat in cold running water. Cook according to package directions (approx. 12-15 minutes for mine).
  2. Combine the tomatoes, scallions, parsley, cucumber, and mint.  Toss together.
  3. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to a skillet, bring to medium heat, cook chicken until cooked throughout, 4-5 minutes (more or less depending on size of chicken pieces).  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. While chicken cooks, whisk together the lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and salt (or pour in a jar and shake… my favorite whisking method).  Stir the dressing into the salad to combine.
  5. Fill your pita bread with salad, chicken, and feta.  Make sure you don’t run out of feta for your leftovers.  You’ll be sad if you do.

And for some reason, I find it amazing that just a little bit of lemon juice and zest can make the dressing into this color naturally:

dressing

pretty and simple

 

 

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Flat Roast Chicken

Last night turned into “sand the cabinets” night.  Scott did a great job, which quickly turned our kitchen into the land of wood dust.  Yuck.  (And by “yuck,” I mean “Thanks, Scott!”)

Fortunately, he made awesome progress right after we ate dinner, so the dirty pots were dust-filled, and the tasty food was safe in our stomachs.  What tasty food?  This tasty food plus some fresh veggies:

Image

photo from Martha Stewart

I love that picture, too.  It’s beautiful, and the skin of the chicken looks so crispy.  Mmm.

The recipe is from Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, by Lucinda Scala Quinn, and you can find more of her awesome recipes on her blog.  A few of our favorite recipes are from her book, and every one is hearty and flavorful.  Spaghetti bolognese that tastes like a dream, for example.  Unfortunately, I can’t eat spaghetti bolognese every day and stay alive.  So sometimes we pick roasted chicken instead.

The Flat Roast Chicken recipe scared me away for a while, mostly because it involves cutting out the backbone of the chicken.  I’m not great at that sort of thing, especially when sharp objects are required to achieve the goal.  I can vouch for the recipe though.  It was pretty easy to take out the backbone, actually.  And once I did that step, the rest was a breeze.  The best part was the taste.

I usually go with salt and pepper on chicken, and the addition of the butter-browned skin and the lemon and red pepper flake sauce on top at the end made it better than the standard roast chicken.  Taking out the backbone at the start also made it really easy to cut the chicken apart after it was cooked.

Now all I have to do is try to imagine cooking again in our dust-ridden kitchen.  Or paint it and clean.  One of the two.