Adapted from Lebanese Cookbook by Dawn, Elaine, and Selwa Anthony
Serves: 4Wash the bur'ghul, either by soaking it in water then squeezing it dry, or simply placing it in a sieve and running water through it. Place in a bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, but preferably 3 or 4 hours.
Trim the scallions to leave about 8 inches of green. Finely chop the white of the scallions and mix it into the drained bur'ghul with the salt, pepper, and spices. Finely chop the green of the scallions and place it with the parsley, mint, and tomatoes on top of the bur'ghul mixture. Set aside in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Just before serving, add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss well. Adjust salt and lemon juice to taste.
1. Add 3-4 Tbs minced yellow onion to the bur'ghul along with the scallions and spices.
2. Add 1 small cucumber (finely chopped) or ½ green pepper (finely chopped) to the salad.
"Bur'ghul" is often sold as "bulgar wheat." If you can find different sizes, use a small or medium grind.
This spice mix is 1 part ground allspice, 1 part grated nutmeg, and 2 parts ground cinnamon. Or, if you like, just use ground cinnamon instead of the mixture.
Use whatever parsley you can find. Some recipes call for a mixture of flat and curly parsley, but it's not always easy to find both varieties. As for the amount: vary according to how you like the salad.
Cooking time: 2 hours
While the lentils are simmering, fry the onions in the oil until very dark brown, almost black. Remove the onions from the oil and place on paper towels to cool and drain. Leave the oil in the frying pan.
Add the bur'ghul to the cooked lentils and return to a very heavy simmer. While simmering, reheat the olive oil, then pour it on top of the lentils and bur'ghul. (It may spatter a little.) Add the salt, then cover and simmer slowly.
When the onions are dry and crisp, mince and mash them to make a paste. Mix the paste into the simmering soup. Continue to simmer until the bur'ghul is soft, 45 to 90 minutes (depending on grain size). Stir the soup regularly to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add boiling water as necessary to keep a thick, creamy consistency.
Adjust salt to taste. Serve hot.
Variation: Purée the soup and add lemon juice to taste.