Sunday, April 14, 2013

(Mujadara) Lebanese Lentils, Rice & Caramelized Onions - April SRC Recipe


During this pregnancy I have been eating at home much more. Tired, picky and just plain more sensitive to the foods I eat, I like to have complete control over the ingredients. One big one is salt.

Just one meal out, even a seemingly inoffensive salad, can leave me puffy the following day. Do you notice a difference in how you feel when you eat out? Luckily my pickier eating habits have paid off. My final blood work came back and my iron level was surprisingly high for a busy third time mom. Despite my extra weight, I was in no danger of gestational diabetes and my doctor mentioned that I muse eat really well.

One "super food" I am completely enamored with are lentils. Inexpensive and versatile they are easy to slip into my diet on a regular basis. Since it was time again to choose a Secret Recipe Club recipe and I was assigned to Gluten Free A-Z Blog, I was thrilled when I found a simple and delicious sounding new lentil dish to try.

Secret Recipe Club

I had a lot of fun poking around Judee's sight. Though I am not a gluten free eater, and am a fond devotee of my shiny new grain mill, I have complete respect for her enthusiasm for real, unprocessed food. That is a goal we have in common and her recipes are excellent for anyone looking to un-junk their daily diet. As I mentioned before, her lentil recipe made me very happy.

So what is Mujadara? I did a little more research on recipes after finding hers and found it was a Lebanese recipe, even mentioned as a comfort food by some, made out of lentils, brown rice and caramelized onions. Served with a lemon wedge and some of my homemade Greek yogurt, I was one happy pregnant gal. I did take a few liberties with Judee's recipe which came from her Mother-in-Law. I have added some whole spices to toast and decreased the rice a bit.

Ready to get cooking?

Lebanese recipe

adapted from Gluten Free A-Z Blog

You Will Need:
  • 1 c. lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. black peppercorns, cracked
  • 2 yellow onions, slice thinly
  • salt
  • 3/4 c. brown basmati rice
  • 2 c. chicken stock
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • lemon wedge for garnish *optional
  • flat leaf parsley or micro greens for garnish *optional
  • Greek yogurt *optional

In a medium saucepan, cover the lentils with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet (I prefer cast iron) toast the cumin seeds and peppercorn till warmed through in the oil. Then add the onions and turn the heat down to medium low. I salt mine and turn or stir every few minutes. Go for slow and golden caramelized onions. It can take me 20 to 30 minutes to really bring out the sweet sugar and deep brown color of the onions. Don't rush it. I promise it will be worth the wait.


Your onions will go from a pale white color to a deep brown. In Japan this was referred to as the color of a fox, but you might also think of it as a deep chestnut color. My photo doesn't quiet do the onions justice. 


When the lentils are ready, add the chicken stock and basmati rice. Continue to simmer till tender, about 25 minutes.

When the onions are ready, reserve a generous spoonful to the side for garnish. With the rest of the onions, sprinkle on the cumin, cayenne and add the cinnamon stick. Saute for about a minute. Add the lentil and rice mixture to your pan of onions and spices and warm through. 


Serve with the reserved caramelized onions, a wedge of lemon and some tangy Greek yogurt.


Now head over and check out all the other fabulous posts for this month's Secret Recipe Club, group B reveal:

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