|Note: I may have eaten some while I was posing this photograph.|
I don't make it any sort of secret that I'm a poor college student (you may ask- but Miss Kagashi, is there any other kind? I say yes, since I live fairly close to the University of Michigan) but I can't help it: I like to eat healthy when I can manage it and at least well when I can't (i.e. blowing my calories on a homemade BLT or cornbread casserole rather than a drive-thru cheeseburger). This traditional Levantine recipe has been in my box for a couple of years now, and I'll make a batch up at least once a month. Considering what you use and the final yield, this is a fantastically cheap recipe that can be dressed up a couple of ways in good times or just eaten as is in less than fortunate ones. It's packed with protein and gluten free, too!
-1 sharp knife
-2 small pots (or one if you have some time on your hands)
-1 frying pan
-1 pair of well-fitting goggles (optional- we'll get to that later)
-1 cup white (or brown) rice, uncooked
-1 cup green lentils, uncooked (soaked for 1-2 hours beforehand)
-1 can (14.5 oz/400 grams) beef stock (vegetarians, feel free to use vegetable stock instead. This is just to inject some flavor into the lentils.)
-1/4 c water
-3 cloves garlic, minced fine
-4-5 white or yellow onions, chopped into long strips (I like a lot of onions.)
-3 Tbsp olive oil
-2 Tbsp butter
-1/2 tpsp ground cumin
-One dash ground nutmeg
-Salt and pepper to taste.
First of all, soak your lentils in water anywhere between 1-2 hours before you cook, as this will help you "de-gunk" them (that's a technical term, right there).
After that boring piece of agenda, fill up one of your saucepots with the entire can of broth and the little bit of water. Feel free to eyeball, you want to have a good deal of liquid covering the lentils because they're going to suck up a lot of it. Add in the minced garlic, nutmeg, and cumin. Bring that to a boil, then simmer between 35 and 40 minutes, or until tender.
While that's simmering away, begin butchering the onions. All right, I sometimes see kvetching that the recipes that I post aren't steampunk and furthermore there's a pretty sizable debate out there of what constitutes steampunk cuisine. Thankfully arguing this philosophy (I have my own fish to fry, literally and figuratively speaking) isn't my job, it's Mac's over at Steampunk Cookery. However in this case I have a surefire way to please the naysayers: Goggles, ladies and gentlemen.
|Yep, I know I'm a dork.|
|Just flying through them.. FOR SCIENCE!|
|Simmering lentils: better than air freshener|
So- your onions are caramelized, your lentils are tender, and your rice is fluffy: nothing else to do but EAT! I like to cook all of my components separately, partially for aesthetic reasons and partially because the first time I ever made this dish I cooked everything in one pot: which resulted in an unappetizing gelatinous mortar.... The memory haunts me to this day.
Dose up some rice and lentils, then top it with the onions. I'm having mine with a nice, dry pink lemonade and a bowl of greek yogurt dressed with honey and cinnamon for dessert.
Pairings, sides, and bonus serving suggestions:
- Tabbouleh or even just a green salad dressed with lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil are popular sides to the majadara because the sour sharpness and crispness contrasts with the oil from the onions.
-Pomegranate also pairs well with it for the same reason. Perhaps have some served atop greek yogurt for dessert or a side.
-Some Lebanese recipes call for pine nuts to be mixed in with the lentils. If you have the money for them, go for it- they add a nice, meaty crunch.
- Often times I'll keep the components of the dish separate and go buy a curry sauce for the next day. The lentils and onions are delicious drenched in the sauce and served on a bed of leftover rice.
- Try eating it cold! Packed up, it will make an excellent and nutritious lunch on the go.