Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Middle Eastern Treat!

Sure, I have not posted in 943 years. Yes, I have cooked about 943 things in the interim. Remember when I said that I was going to write about all of my cooking endeavors? I lied. It is amazing how daunting it is to post about your dinner every night. It is one thing to keep up with my family blog, but a whole other task to take on two blogs, one of which requires actually remembering to take a picture of your food before you eat it. I have made a ton of delicious stuff, and I would even begin chanting to myself, "take a picture, take a picture, take a picture" only to be sidetracked by one fiasco or another involving a two year old. So what, you ask, prompted me to actually get out of my rut and remember to write? Hold on to your socks, my friends!

Tonight, I made Mujadara. It is Lebanese, which we are all about right now. We are suckers for great Greek/Lebanese/Mediterranean cuisine around here. I stumbled on the recipe during my standard trip to the Tasty Kitchen blog. It took me all of two seconds to decide it was going to be dinner. I have never in my life cooked lentils and I am also very new to cooking with middle eastern flavors. Let me tell you, this was absolutely fantastic. I can't express how much we loved this. It is super easy, very inexpensive and healthy (while tasting like a decadent treat!). I made hummus and toasted pita bread to go with it. I use my hummus recipe (which I will include below). NEVER buy hummus. It is so cheap and easy to make and tastes a thousand times better than the stuff in the grocery store. We piled hummus and the mujadara on the pitas and it was absolute heaven. You must make this. Trust me. :-)

Mujadara (Rice, Lentils and Caramelized Onions) *slightly altered by yours truly

1 cup Lentils
4 whole Yellow Onions
3-½ cups Water
1 cup White Rice
1 teaspoon Cumin
1 teaspoon Salt
½ teaspoons Pepper
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil and/or butter

Preparation Instructions

Slice the onions. The onions should be sliced long and not diced.
Heat a pot on medium heat. Add 1 table­spoon of butter (or oil) and half an onion. Cook until onion is caramelized.
Add lentils, water, salt and pep­per. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and sim­mer for 20 minutes.
After 20 min­utes, add rice and cumin. Cover and sim­mer for addi­tional 20 minutes.

While all of this is happening, heat a fry­ing pan over medium heat. Add the remain­ing 1 table­spoon of veg­etable oil, a couple of pats of butter and the remain­ing onions. Cook until fully caramelized and dark golden brown. Stir into the lentil mixture or spoon on top of each plate.

*caramelizing the onions is KEY. Low and slow is always the way to go and I think that using butter to do it makes them much sweeter than using oil. That is my own personal preference and it does not take too much butter at all. I move the heat down to about 3 or 4 and cook the onions for 45 minutes. I kid you not. This is what makes them turn into sweet bits of heaven. For the first part of the dish (the half onion that goes into the mix), I only did about 20 minutes, but next time I will remember to get them on the stove earlier. I cooked the big batch at the end for the full 45 minutes like I normally do and they really made the dish. It was a heavenly combination!!


2 garlic cloves
2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, some liquid reserved
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
2 tablespoons liquid from the chickpeas (probably a bit more)
olive oil

Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it's minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is pureed. As far as the olive oil, I add this to the food processor last and eyeball it. I probably use about a 1/2 cup. I add a little at a time and keep tasting it and checking the consistency. The same with the lemon...I add the juice of one and then keep tasting it as I add more. Also, make sure that you note kosher salt...if you add a full teaspoon of the fine table salt, it will be WAY too salty. If you don't have the large kosher salt, really knock the salt down until you taste it.

Cut your pita bread into quarters and toast...the perfect snack with hummus. And the perfect accompaniment to the dinner!! Are you proud that I even remembered to take a picture?! :-)

1 comment:

  1. Holy cow, how I LOVE caramelized onions... I've never made anything that requires 4 flippin' onions, though!! Thank goodness you don't have to dice them! Unfortunately, my hubby doesn't love caramelized onions (or onions in general) as much as I do, so I might have to make this for myself only! I love lentils, and I love the short ingredient list for this!