Irene’s Pourgouri with Greek Salad (Bulgur wheat in a rich tomato sauce)

 

This is a fantastic greek cypriot recipe I was given by my beautiful friend Irene. Her wonderful family invited me to stay with them in Paphos in Summer 2015 and her mum, Aunty Athena made this dish for us one night as a light dinner. Since then I was craving it and asked her for the recipe, and its amazing how something so delicious can be so quick and easy to cook! Irene usually serves this with a cypriot hard cheese called anari but its very difficult to find in the UK, so I cheated and used parmigiano reggiano instead. My flatmate, Emma has gone vegan for lent and I’m trying to think of things we can eat together without having to commit to veganism myself… So a great feature of this dish is that you could actually skip the cheese completely and make it vegan, and the same goes for the salad part by skipping the feta. Irene’s original recipe doesn’t have spinach but I fancied something green so threw it in at the last minute.

The Pourgouri

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white onion chopped finely
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300 g passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 225 g (1 cup) Bulgur Wheat
  • 1 vegetable stock pot made up in 500 ml (2 cups) of water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cubes frozen spinach (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan
  2. Add the onion and sauté until golden
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute
  4. Add the bulgur wheat and stir for another minute
  5.  Add the passata, salt and pepper and about half of vegetable stock. (Side note – if you are using tinned tomatoes and sieving them yourself or prefer a less sour tomato taste just add 1/2 tsp of sugar)
  6. Add the spinach if you’re adding it.
  7. Let it reduce for a while and add the rest of the stock.
  8. Set on medium to low heat and stir occasionally until the water is absorbed and the bulgur is cooked – about 15 minutes.
  9. Once all the water is absorbed taste a little of the bulgur, if it still has some crunch, you may need to add a little more hot water (about 1/2 cup) and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Sneaky addition! – I added a sprinkle of cayenne pepper at the last minute to give it some kick

Simple Greek Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red onion
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 a cucumber
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup of olives (I use mixed green and black)
  • 200 g of feta
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Chop the onion into medium size cubes
  2. Steep the onions in the olive oil, salt, sugar and oregano while you prepare the rest of the ingredients – I do this step to reduce the sharpness of the onions
  3. Chop the cucumber into small cubes and add to the onion mix
  4. Repeat this with the tomatoes (you can remove the seeds if you like but it’s also fine to leave them in)
  5. Chop the feta into small cubes and add to the mix
  6. Add the olives
  7. Add black pepper and toss gently – be careful not to break up the feta too much

Spoon the pourgouri onto a plate, top with hard cheese and serve with the salad on the side. Enjoy!

 

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