Thursday, December 30, 2010

Burger with bulgur

I started the new Weight Watchers PointsPlus program a few weeks ago and am working hard to rethink my approach to high-fat, low-fiber, carb-clogged and generally points-heavy foods. So far, it's been a creative and mostly satisfying experience, but not everything can be made points friendly. Or can it?

I've been craving a juicy grilled burger but was appalled by the points value of how I prepared them. Tonight, eager to take our new Cusinart Griddler for a spin, I decided to dial down the fat while boosting the volume, fiber and flavor. I did it with some coarse bulgur (the real deal, imported from Turkey) and fresh ground beef from a local halal butcher.

I started with just 3/4 lb ground beef for two generously sized burgers and one, mine, a little smaller; I used to make three big boys out of a full pound. Then I boosted them with nutty bulgur. In a small ramekin covered with plastic wrap, I bloomed 2 tablespoons of the golden grain in hot water for about 10 minutes. After draining thoroughly, I added this to the meat, along with about half of a small onion (grated), and 1 teaspoon each Worchestershire sauce, herbs in duxelle and Mexican oregano. Just before grilling, I added a generous surface sprinkle of hearty hickory-smoked sea salt.

The bulgur did not affect the meaty flavor; in fact, you could barely detect the secret ingredient. Graham had no idea and practically inhaled his. Even tucked into an onion knot bun from Fresh Market, it was so much leaner and tastier than my old standard that I felt no guilt topping it with a melty (if thin) slab of blue cheese.

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