Combining bulgur with eggplant and halumi cheese, this Syrian favorite (pronounced boor-GHOUL bee jeebn wal bet-in-JAN) makes a lovely vegetarian entrée. Coarse- or medium-ground bulgur works best. Halumi is a firm, chewy, rather salty cheese. To reduce its saltiness, soak the cheese in a bowl of fresh water for half an hour. You can substitute mozzarella.
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) diced halumi cheese
6 cups (1-inch) cubed eggplant (about 1 pound)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
4 cups vertically sliced onion
2 cups uncooked coarse-ground bulgur
3 1/4 cups boiling water
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
How to Make It
Soak cheese in a bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain.
Place eggplant in a colander; sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Drain 30 minutes. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté 15 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, bulgur, boiling water, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggplant; sauté 10 minutes or until browned. Combine cheese, bulgur mixture, eggplant, and 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven. Toss well to coat; place over medium heat 5 minutes or until cheese is soft. Serve hot.