Warm Chicken Tabouli (w/ wine pairings)

Warm Chicken Tabouli

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of my recent posts I’m trying to eat a bit healthier after a marathon of gluttony during this past holiday season. This is forcing me to expand my cooking horizons to find dishes and ingredients that are flavorful, but still moderately low in fat. One ingredient in particular that I’ve been looking forward to working with is bulgur wheat, mainly because I’ve been dying to try my hands at a tabouli. However, I couldn’t find any at the stores I frequent, so it kept being pushed onto the backburner… Well lo and behold I was picking up some Arborio rice the other day and was very pleasantly surprised to see boxes of bulgur wheat right next to it. Finally!

So here we have my take on tabouli. Admittedly it is not entirely traditional being that it has chicken, when the dish is typically vegetarian, and I served it warm, when it’s normally served cold. The flavors, though, are fantastic and the dish is surprisingly filling. My wife and I were both shocked at how much we enjoyed it, and even my three picky children devoured the cold leftovers for lunch the next day. It’s also quite versatile. Great as an entrée but it could be a snack, an appetizer, with brunch… you name it.

Serves 3-4 as an entrée.

2 Boneless & Skinless Chicken Breast
2c Dry White Wine
2c Water
4tsp Salt
2tsp Ground Black Pepper
3tsp Garlic Powder
2tsp Onion Powder
1tbsp Crushed Red Pepper
1tbsp Yellow Curry Powder
1c Plum Tomato, diced
1c Sweet Corn
1tbsp Shallot, chopped
2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
3/4c Fresh Parsley, chopped
1/4c Fresh Mint, chopped
1/3c Dry Roasted Peanuts, unsalted
2tbsp + 1tsp Olive Oil
3 1/2c Vegetable Stock
1c Bulgur Wheat

You’ll also need 2tsp each of olive oil and lemon juice to drizzle over each dish once the tabouli is plated.

Ok, let’s get the ball rolling here. The first thing you’ll need to do is get the wheat started. In a medium pot bring 3c of vegetable stock to a boil and add the bulgur wheat. Immediately turn off the heat, cover the pot, and allow to soak for 35 minutes. Once the wheat has finished soaking strain it in a colander lined with a thin towel (not a paper towel as that will likely break apart).

Right after you get the wheat soaking it’s time to start your chicken. In a medium pot combine the white wine, water, 2tsp each of salt, garlic powder and onion powder, and 1tbsp of crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol in the wine, then reduce the heat to medium and add the chicken. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Remove from the liquid and shred the chicken using tongs and a fork, or two forks. Set aside at room temperature.

While the wheat is soaking and chicken is simmering you can roast the peanuts. Heat 1tsp of olive oil in a small pot or sauté pan, then add the unsalted peanuts, 1/2tsp of salt and 1tsp of yellow curry powder. Sauté until the nuts are coated with the seasoning and slightly browned, tossing regularly or they could burn. Set aside at room temperature.

Once the chicken is shredded, the wheat is soaked and strained, and the peanuts are roasted, it’s time to pull it all together…

Heat 2tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan at medium heat, then add the shallot and garlic, cook for 1 minute. Add the shredded chicken, 1/2tsp of salt, 1tsp of garlic powderm 2tsp of yellow curry powder, and 1/4c of vegetable stock, and continue to sauté on medium for 3 minutes, stirring regularly to make sure the chicken is evenly coated. Add the strained bulgur wheat, diced tomatoes, corn, parsley, mint, and 1tsp each of salt, black pepper and garlic powder, and 1/4c of vegetable stock. Cook for an additional 3 minutes, stirring periodically.

That’s it, you’re pretty much done. Plate the tabouli, drizzle it with the additional olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle it with the roasted peanuts, and you’re ready to eat!

Now let’s talk wine pairings. You could go with a lighter bodied red here, but I feel that light to medium bodied whites with subtle acidity are a better pairing. It’ll enhance the sweetness of the curry and corn, as well as play off of the drizzle of lemon juice. Here are a few recommendations that I feel would pair well…

Foucher-Lebrun Sancerre Blanc Le Mont 2013, Loire Valley, France – (For those not familiar with Sancerre Blanc, it is made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the greater Sancerre region within the Loire Valley) Foucher-Lebrun is a petit négociant that was founded in 1921 by Paulin Lebrun, and is now run by his grandson Jacky Foucher. For the last 90+ years their goal has been simple: to source high quality fruit from the region’s top growers and produce a wine whose quality far surpasses its price, and for 90+ years they have been successful. The nose is redolent with aromas of lemon zest, kumquat, crushed white flowers and hints of chalk. On the palate is a medium to full bodied wine with notes of lemon and lime zest, chalky minerality and slight nuances of fresh garden herbs and cut grass, all brought to balance by moderate acidity, a round mouthfeel from the lees, and good minerally crunch in the finish. A stunning Sancerre for the price. PP Score: 92 (Retail $17-20)

ColleStefano Verdicchio Di Matelica, Marche, Italy – ColleStefano’s Verdicchio has consistently been one of the best white wines coming out of Italy for the past 15 years. The 15 hectare estate has been in the family for decades, but it wasn’t bottled and sold under the name ColleStefano until Fabio Marchionni took over in 1998, and it didn’t take long for him to find his stride. In the glass you find a medium bodied wine that is pale straw in color with slight green hues on the edges. The bouquet exhibits notes of citrus zest, honeydew and subtle crushed rock. On the palate are nuances of lemon zest, orange blossom, and white peach, accentuated by sharp acidity that is softened by the slightly creamy texture. With only 6,000 cases produced this is not necessarily the easiest wine to find, but it is certainly worth the search. I repeat, this is one of the best white wines, at any price point, coming out of Italy… and it’s under $20! PP Score: 95 (Retail $13-16) *Practicing Organic

Filippi Castelcerino Soave Classico, Veneto, Italy –  Normally I’m not the biggest fan of Soave’s. They’re typically very aromatic and are very fat in the mouth with overt honeyed notes and little-to-no balancing minerality or acidity. The Soave’s of Filippo Filippi (yes, that’s his real name), however, are anything but typical. Filippi’s estate and vineyards are located in Castelcerino, which is the highest elevation region in the Soave DOC. The family has been making wine from these estates since the early 1900’s, but it wasn’t until 2003 that they started bottling under their own name. On the nose the Classico is very typical Soave, being super aromatic, but the palate is a completely different story. The wine is medium bodied, and while there are honeyed notes evident, there are also beautiful hints of grapefruit pith, white peach and lemon zest, framed by crunchy minerality and subtle acidity. This is easily the most complex, yet well balanced, Soave I’ve ever had, and at the price it’s an absolute steal. PP Score: 90 (Retail $13-16) *Certified Organic

Powers Chardonnay, Columbia Valley, Washington – Powers is one of the wineries that helped put Washington State wines on the map back in the early 1990’s. They are best known for their Cabernet Sauvignons (they were even named one of the Top 50 Cabernet producers in the United States by Wine Enthusiast), but they also make some truly delicious Merlot, Syrah, Malbec and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay is small production, with only 1,200 cases made for the 2013 vintage. The wine is a blend of juice from their Powers estates as well as a plot of vineyard they farm in Champoux Vineyard, one of Washington’s Cru sites. This is what I like to call an “everyone” Chardonnay… By that I mean that if you like Chardonnay, whatever the style or region, you will like this wine. There are substantial notes of tropical fruit, hints of citrus and nuances of oak, with a moderate density from partial malolactic fermentation that is balanced by subtle acidity and minerality. This is a surprisingly elegant wine for the price point. PP Score: 89 (Retail $10-13) *Practicing Organic

So there you have it, my tabouli recipe and recommended wine pairings. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read and will try the recipe and wines. New content will be coming soon… In the meantime crack open some awesome little small production bottle of white, sit back, and relax. Life is short, enjoy it!


Published by Derek Martin

Husband, dad, home cook, wine snob... lover of bacon. I have spent my entire adult life surrounded by fine food and fine wines, starting with fifteen years working at, or running, some of New Jersey's top restaurants, and now the last two years working for one of the top fine wine distributors in the United States. I have absorbed a ton of information on food, wine, pairings and techniques during those seventeen years, and I'd love to share what I've learned with you!

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