Mujadara

I picked up some Canadian grown french lentils at the 100 Mile Market last week and wanted to put them to proper use.  Before I tell you about Mujadara, I will share that according to pulsecanada.com, Canada is the largest exporter of lentils and peas, and I have a hard time finding Canadian grown lentils and peas.  On top of that, apparently Ontario has a huge kidney bean crop, yet any dried or canned bean I source is “prepared for x company”, making it obvious that the beans are not from around here. sigh. Another symptom of a system gone wrong.

Anyhow, on a lighter note, this dish was super cheap, easy and made for scrumptious leftovers!  Stamped and approved by the carnivore of the house too.  He was very full after the meal and was pleased and surprised by it.  We didn’t have onions when I came across it, and I almost was going to try it without them.  That would’ve been a terrible mistake. The caramelized onions are absolutely essential!  They make every bit perfectly well rounded with their smoky and sweet flavour.  Let me know if you try it out (especially because it can be likely made “locally” in many global places!…fyi: It’s a middle eastern dish).

Recipe and photo credit: http://desertcandy.blogspot.com/2009/08/mujadara.html

Mujadara

2 large sweet white onions, thinly sliced
2 tbl butter
2 tbl vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils (not red lentils or french lentils!)
2 cups long grain white rice
3-4 cardamom pods
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
splash of good olive oil
optional: plain thick yogurt for serving

1. Melt the butter along with the oil and a pinch of salt in your largest skillet, and add the onions. Set heat on medium-low and stir occasionally until very soft, about 30 minutes. Turn heat to medium high and keep cooking and stirring often until deeply browned and sweet, another 20 minutes or more. Deglaze the pan with a splash of water (or more untraditionally white wine), stir and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, cook the rice and lentils separately according to the package directions. Add the cardamom pods to the rice pot while cooking, then discard when done. The lentils should be tender but not smushy or soupy, they should retain their shape.

3. Combine rice, lentils, half the caramelized onions, cinnamon, cumin, salt and pepper in a large pot. Add about half a cup of water and the olive oil and heat everything together until fragrent, warm and combined.

4. Place mujadara in serving dish. Scatter remaining caramelized onions over top. You can also decorate with some toasted pine nuts or chopped parsley. Serve, with plain thick yogurt on the side if desired.

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