Saturday, March 17, 2012

Mujadarrah (lentils, rice and caramelized onions)

I've been making this dish for years, it was a fantastic introduction for me to French green lentils and the wonders of deeply caramelized onions. Now it serves as an easy weeknight vegetarian meal, tasty and filling. The recipe is based on several versions I've seen but mostly on Deborah Madison's in the Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone book that has long been a staple in my kitchen library.

Lots and lots of onion that cooks down in a healthy dose of good extra-virgin olive oil to a fraction of the raw state

Preparing the lentils before adding the brown rice to absorb the cooking water.

1/3 cup olive oil
2 large onions peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
1 1/4 cup French green lentils
3/4 cup brown rice

Heat the oil in a large skillet (an well-seasoned iron skillet is perfect for this dish) over medium-high heat. Add the onion slices and allow to cook for a while (about 15-20 minutes) so that they develop a dark and deeply rich color keeping an eye on them and moving them around in order to prevent burning.
Rinse the lentils well under running water then add to a saucepan with 1 quart of cold water, a good amount of fresh cracked black pepper, and a healthy pinch of salt. Bring the pot to a boil then allow the lentils to simmer covered for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse the rice well under running water then add to the pot with the lentils, bring back to a simmer and cover to cook for about 30-35 minutes, until the rice and lentils have absorbed all of the water.
Empty the rice and lentils into a serving bowl, stir in the onions and allow to sit for a few minutes so that the combined flavors can settle in together. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning as needed.

The dish is served here with some steamed broccolini and baguette,

Hey, while you're checking out this post, please feel free to drop a comment below! It would be great to know what you think about this dish, if you've tried cooking it yourself, or are planning to. A little feedback goes a long way!

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