Bulgur Pilaf with Beef and Garbanzo

Bulgur Pilaf with Beef and Garbanzo

Bulgur pilaf with beef and garbanzo reminds me of my childhood. I had a cousin who used to love any kind of bulgur pilaf especially if it had yogurt on the side! The beef shanks cooked until they fall off the bones, and the beef broth used in cooking the bulgur is incredibly delicious. You can make this dish for Sunday brunch alongside a large bowl of salad. Bulgur pilaf with beef and garbanzo is a yet another traditional Armenian dish that’s been passed down generations.

Skill level: Intermediate
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Bulgur Pilaf with Beef and Garbanzo
Traditional "Armenian" Recipe
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
2 hr
Beef shanks
  1. 2 medium beef shanks (about 1 pound each) cross cut
  2. 1 medium onion cut into quarters
  3. 3 – 5 cardamon pods
  4. ½ teaspoon whole allspice
  5. 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  6. water for cooking
Pilaf
  1. 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  2. ¼ cup vermicelli
  3. 2 cups #3 bulgur
  4. ¼ cup butter
  5. 4 cups water ( or 1 cup beef broth & 3 cups water )
  6. 1 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional but recommended)
  8. 1 (16 oz) can garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
  9. Reserved shank chunks
Beef shanks
  1. In a 7 quart saucepan, place the meat, and add enough water to cover the meat by about 2 inches.
  2. Add the onions, cardamom pods, whole spices and black peppercorns.
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil and with a spoon remove the froth from the top.
  4. Lower heat and cook on medium low for about 1 ½ to 2 hours till the meat is fork tender.
  5. Remove from the saucepan and leave to cool.
  6. Strain the broth and set aside.
  7. Separate the meat from the bones, remove fat and grizzle and break the meat into large chunks. Set aside.
Pilaf
  1. In a 5 quart saucepan, heat the vegetable oil and add the vermicelli.
  2. Stir on medium heat till vermicelli is light gold brown.
  3. Add the bulgur and stir for about a minute.
  4. Add the water or beef broth, salt, and chicken bouillon.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, lower heat to low and cover to cook.
  6. Halfway thru the cooking, when the water is almost absorbed, add the garbanzo beans and the butter.
  7. Mix gently to incorporate.
  8. Continue cooking till all the liquid is absorbed.
How to serve
  1. Place the bulgur onto a large platter and add the meat on the top.
  2. You can also, mix the meat with the bulgur and serve it that way.
♣ Notes
  1. 1. You will not need all the beef broth for the recipe. Measure the remaining unused broth in plastic freezer bag and freeze for later use. Remember to write down on the bag, the date and the number of cups it contains.
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