Like most people who cook on a daily, or near daily, basis, I love the “one pot meal.” Being able to have your protein, starch, and vegetables all cook away in the same vessel with minimum effort (and only one pot to clean at the end) is a pretty good deal.
The problem I run into is that I often have a hard time making them with complex carbs. White rice is easy enough to add to a one-meal concoction, but try throwing brown rice or barley in there and you are often left with rice that hasn’t cooked thoroughly or a piece of meat that is so overcooked it ruins the happy vibe of the one-pot meal.
But other grains that take less time to cook, like bulgur, which is one of my absolute favorite starchy sides, are perfect. You may recognize it as the main ingredient in tabouli, but it does so much more. We easily eat it once a week. The most common way I prepare it is to make it into a pilaf, sauteing just a little onion & garlic in the beginning, cooking it in chicken broth, and topping it with toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds. I’ve also made this recipe as a side before, sans the chicken. Bulgur takes less time to cook than even white rice, and easily outweighs rice’s nutrition benefits, too (a serving has 50 less calories but 6 more grams of dietary fiber).
This meal is sort of a play on arroz con pollo, or chicken with rice. The ingredients and flavor profile are similar, but the arroz is obviously replaced with bulgur (which I have no idea how to say in Spanish, sorry. I mean, lo siento!).
Boneless/skinless chicken thighs would be a great replacement for the breast in this recipe. You can use bone-in, too, but I would simmer them in the liquid for about 5 minutes before adding the bulgur, to assure they get fully cooked.
Chicken with Bulgur and Peppers
4 small chicken breasts or chicken breast halves, about 5 oz. each
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup medium grain bulgur
2 cups beef broth
1 bay leaf
2 green onions, sliced
Season the chicken to taste with salt, pepper, cumin, and paprika.
Heat a large saute pan with lid over medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the chicken and sear for 1-2 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the pan.
To the pan, add the onion and peppers and cook until tender, with just a little bit of bite. Stir in the garlic and tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the bulgur and stir around to toast, before adding the beef broth and bay leaf.
Bring a mixture to a low boil, and nestle the chicken back in. Cover the pan with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook about 12-13 minutes, then turn off the heat, and let sit for 5 minutes.
Top with green onions before serving.
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