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Posts Tagged ‘lentils’

It’s been overcast lately. Obscenely and depressingly overcast. Inexcusably overcast. While the weather report does hold some hope for the days to come (up to 89°, if weather.com is to be trusted), that doesn’t stop one from doing several vitamin d-deprived sulks around the house.

Screw this.

Last time I’d been in a mood like this, I made a nostalgia-ridden comfort food (pierogis); this time, I’m simply going for flat-out comfort with no nostalgic ties: mujaddara.

I highly doubt that this is an authentic recipe, as I pulled it directly from the pages of Veganomicon; but, to be fair, it doesn’t look as if there is any one recipe (or name or origin) for mujaddara that is considered the be all and end all of this ridiculously simple, yet utterly homey dish of lentils, onions, and rice.

The loveliest thing about mujaddara is that you’re not simply dealing with onions… you’re dealing with caramelized onions. And I do love me a caramelized onion. I’ve had problems with them in the past, as I’d stuck with the stove for my endeavors, but Veganomicon taught me a convenient trick: use the oven! Genius. I usually use 2 lbs of sweet yellow onions cut into thin rings and thoroughly coated in ¾ c. of olive oil; today, I used Walla Walla onions from the farmers market, because I adore these sweet Washington State friends. Veganomicon informs me that I only need to turn my oven up to 400°, pop my onions in, stir frequently, and in 25-30 minutes there will be beautifully caramelized onions waiting for me. Not so! I’ve gone up to an hour+, checking and stirring frequently, until my onions are golden brown (with a few burnt edges), sweet, and fragrant.

I have no idea how long I spent caramelizing my onions today, as I was preoccupied with working on illustrations.

Aren't they pretty?

Some folks like green or brown lentils in their mujaddara; but I really enjoy red lentils here, because they mash up so nicely. I soak 1 c. of my red friends while simmering 4c. water, 1c. of basmati rice, a cinnamon stick, and a few whole cloves for about 15 minutes. All ready? Time to gently fluff the rice, then in goes 1c. red lentils, ½tsp. allspice, and 1½tsp. cumin. Bring everything back up to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 45min.

Red lentils, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, and basmati rice.

This is where you may want to go back to something like, oh, working on more illustrations. Just be mindful to watch the clock, or you’ll have sad, inedible rice and lentils burned to the bottom of your pot. Turn off the heat, let everything sit still covered for about 10min, then fold in all of those ugly as heck beautiful caramelized onions and any remaining olive oil.

Despite its wonderful flavor, mujaddara is possibly one of the most homely looking meals imaginable. Easy solution: grilled asparagus and (!) lemons (!) offset an unimpressive plop of beige in the most delicious of ways.

Have I mentioned how good grilled lemons are?

שמחה ,والسعادة, ευτυχία, mutluluk

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