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One of our favorites, a dish that exemplifies the good flavors of Balkan cuisine: tangy feta cheese, nutty bulghur, and herbed zucchini. Leftover brown rice can be substituted for the bulghur and water in this recipe. We add a few flavors foreign to the Balkans, too: soy sauce and cheddar cheese.
- ¾ cup bulghur (or use 1½ cups cooked brown rice)
- ¾ cup boiling water
- 2 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cups sliced onions
- 4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
- 6 cups thinly sliced zucchini rounds
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup grated feta cheese (5 ounces)
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- ¾ to 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
- 2 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
- To prepare the bulghur, place the bulghur in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it, cover and set it aside until it has absorbed the water and become soft and chewable.
- Sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are just translucent.
- Add the zucchini, dried herbs, and black pepper and continue to sauté on medium to low heat until the zucchini is tender, but not falling apart.
- In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs.
- Mix in the feta and cottage cheese.
- Add the chopped parsley, tomato paste, and soy sauce to the bulghur (or rice) and mix well.
- Assemble the casserole in an oiled 9 x 9-inch casserole dish.
- Layer first the bulghur (or rice) mixture, next the sautéed vegetables, and then the feta mixture.
- Top with the grated cheddar and the sliced tomatoes.
- Bake covered at 350° for 45 minutes.
For crustier cheese, uncover the casserole for the final 15 minutes of baking.
This casserole can be more easily served after it sits for 5 or 10 minutes.