Even when I am following a low carb diet, I can’t seem to tear myself from cheating on eating bulgur; I have been raised on eating this healthy nutty grain. Bulgur has been a staple in Lebanon, Middle East and the Mediteeranean, it is also common in India and Balkan states. Today I am sharing with you a chicken bulgur pilaf studded with vermicelli and seasoned with freshly grated black pepper. This makes a comforting lunch or dinner that the whole family can enjoy!!
I would not recommend a ready chicken broth in this recipe. The spices used in our homemade broth add a special dimension to the dish!! But for a time saving strategy, cook the chicken one day ahead, let it cool down, then save it with its broth in the fridge, or use your crockpot to cook the chicken – with the chicken cooked, the pilaf can be whipped up on the fly in merely 35 minutes. —Hadia Zebib Khanafer
Clean the chicken, set in a pot and add enough water to cover it; place on high heat and spoon the scum out as it appears. Once it reaches a boiling point, add the onion, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and bay leaves. Reduce temperature to low, cover the pot and simmer for two hours or until fully cooked and falling off the bone.
Strain the broth and transfer the chicken to a dish. Debone and shred the chicken into large pieces
Break the vermicelli into 2.5 cm/ 1 inch pieces, or use a brand where vermicelli is already cut into smaller pieces
Heat the oil and butter in a large pot, add the chopped onions and saute until considerably tender; add the vermicelli and stir constantly to avoid burning, continue scraping and sautéing until the vermicelli turns to a golden brown color – it happens faster than expected, so keep your eye on the vermicelli!!
Add the bulgur and give a quick stir coating it with the oil, vermicelli and onions, and sautéing together for 30 seconds.
Stir in 4 ¼ cups of the strained chicken broth, add salt and black pepper and bring to a boil. Add the shredded chicken, give a quick stir, cover up and let it simmer for 25 minutes over very low heat allowing the flavors to cook beautifully together.
Fluff with a fork and serve the chicken bulgur pilaf alongside plain yogurt or even with Middle Eastern salad!! Heavenly delicious!!