Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bok Choy Skillet Supper - for times
when red meat's got you rattled

It seems suitable that I decided to write about a vegetarian dish today, the same day when red meat was again getting a bad rap in the news.
   “Eating red meat daily will kill you sooner,” screamed the headline on the Toronto Sun’s website, going for the jugular.
   It was reported today (March 13, 2012), that research done by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests even a moderate consumption of red meat – as little as one serving a day – poses a more serious health risk than previously thought.
   The study showed that eating one serving a day of unprocessed red meat (about the size of a deck of cards) was associated with a 13 per cent increased risk in premature death; eating one serving a day of processed red meat (one hot dog or two slices of bacon) was associated with a 20 per cent increased risk of premature death.
   My husband and I eat a diet that includes red meat about once or twice a week. We try to vary things up with dishes made of fish, chicken, vegetables and fruit. We’ve also tried recipes using grains, such as Bok Choy Skillet Supper (click for the recipe) from Vegetarian Times magazine.
   It’s a vegetarian dish we tried recently that pleased us both.
   Bok choy halves are steamed over a bed of bulgur. The bulgur has a slighty “meaty” texture to it, giving the dish some depth.
   We couldn’t find bulgur in the supermarket, but found it in bulk at a health foods store. The recipe also called for mushroom broth; we used store-bought vegetable broth instead.
   This dish is easy to make, but is made even easier by the fact everything is cooked in one skillet.
   Mushrooms are cooked in garlic oil in a skillet, then halved cherry or grape tomatoes are put in and cooked for about two minutes. The mushrooms and tomatoes are transferred to a plate.
   More oil is added to the skillet, and chopped shallots are cooked in it for a few minutes. One cup of bulgur is added and stirred until the grains are coated with oil, then broth, a thyme spring, and water are added. The skillet is covered and the mixture inside simmered for five minutes.
   Halves of small bok choy are arranged on top of the bulgur, and the mushrooms and tomatoes are sprinkled in between the halves. The skillet is covered and the mixture simmered for five minutes more.
   The skillet is removed from heat and left to stand for 10 minutes. Servings are sprinkled with thyme leaves and drizzled with garlic oil.

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