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Zucchini and Bulgur Stacks with Grilled Chicken

From Stacks: The Art of Vertical Food

1 large leek, diced, white and palest green part only
1 large portobello mushroom, chopped
2 large brown mushrooms, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup bulgur
2 cups store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1/3 pound pancetta, diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic
4 zucchini, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
4 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


2 whole (double) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups, or to taste, store-bought or homemade marinara sauce

To prepare bulgur: In a large, ovenproof saucepan, sauté the leek and mushrooms in butter until limp, about 5 minutes. Add the bulgur and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add the stock, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring. Cover and bake at 350 °F for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

To prepare zucchini: Sauté the diced pancetta in a large skillet for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and sauté 5 minutes over medium heat. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Add the zucchini and pepper and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the zucchini is tender and just cooked through. Add the tomatoes, parsley, and Parmesan. Set aside.

To prepare the chicken: Brush the breasts with oil, season with salt and pepper, and grill over medium-hot coals or on a gas grill until golden and cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes and then dice chicken. Set aside.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 350°F. With nonstick vegetable oil spray, spray 6 cylinders (either homemade, as directed in article, from 15-ounce soup or broth cans or store-bought, 3 inches in diameter by 4 inches high). Place the cylinders on a sheet pan. Snugly layer the stacks in the following order: 2 tablespoons diced chicken, 2 tablespoons bulgur, 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture. Repeat the layers and top with any leftover chicken. Press down gently, but firmly. Bake for 10 minutes, or until hot. While chicken is cooking, in a saucepan, thoroughly heat tomato sauce.

To serve: Slide a wide spatula under each stack cylinder and transfer to serving plates. Using oven mitts, remove the molds with one hand and steady the stacks with the other. Serve surrounded by tomato sauce. Yields 6 servings.

Planning-ahead tips: Prepare the bulgur early in the day and refrigerate it. Prepare the zucchini 1 to 2 hours early and refrigerate it. Grill the chicken earlier in the day and refrigerate it. Stacks can be assembled and chilled 1 to 2 hours before baking. Bring to room temperature before baking.




(Updated: 10/28/08 SN)

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