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Thursday, May 16, 2013


I know what you must be thinking... two posts in two days! Stop the presses! It is somewhat exciting. My little boy is starting to go to bed earlier and earlier. Tonight, he was in bed asleep by 7:30. To top it all off, my husband is out of town on business. My time is my own this evening. It doesn't happen that often these days, so I figured I'd make the most of it.

I celebrated by making another of those sandwiches I've been so fond of lately and then made a big old pot of this delicious dish. It may not be much to look at, but, boy, does it have some flavor! Majadra is of Lebanese origin and has rice, lentils, and caramelized onions. It also has a hint of spice and is absolutely delightful. You can serve it as a side dish or a main dish. I like to fill a bowl full to the brim and eat it with a spoon. It's very tasty. The best part is that it makes a decent amount and it tastes just as good reheated the rest of the week. It makes a perfect leftover lunch.

The other nice thing about it is that it's pretty simple to make. While it's not fast, it takes about an hour to complete it, the actual prep work is minimal and involves slicing an onion. That's it! Really! Okay, you also have to slice open a lemon for a little bit of juice, but, who's keeping track?

You start by putting the lentils on to simmer and caramelizing the onions. These two tasks take about the same amount of time, about half an hour. When the onions are starting to develop some really nice color, throw in a small stick of cinnamon. If you don't have a stick, you can also add just a dash of ground, but the stick adds more of an aromatic component to the dish rather than a flavor you taste with your tongue.

Once the lentils are tender and the onions are caramelized, you add the Batsmati rice to the onions to toast slightly. Then you add the drained lentils, boiling water, and cumin; cover it; and cook for twenty more minutes. After twenty minutes, you open the pot and fluff the rice. Spritz a couple teaspoons of fresh lemon juice over and add salt to taste (I think I added between 1/2 and 1 teaspoons).

Yield: 6-8 servings

1 large onion, halved and sliced thinly
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup green lentils
water to cover lentils by 1-2 inches
1  2" cinnamon stick
1 1/4 cup Batsmati rice
2 cups hot water
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt to taste

Heat a large pot and the oil over medium to medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onions are very golden, about 30 minutes. Adjust the heat as needed to keep them from burning. At the same time, put the lentils in a sauce pan and cover with water so that it is one to two inches above the top of the lentils. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer to cook for 25-30 minutes. The lentils should be tender about the time the onions are done. If the lentils are done before the onions, simply turn off the heat and let them sit. Drain the lentils once the onions are done.

When the onions are about 5 minutes away from being done, add the cinnamon stick and stir. Once the onions are nicely golden, add the rice and toast, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes. Add the lentils, the cumin, and the water. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. After twenty minutes, turn off the heat. Let sit 5 minutes. Remove the cover, add the lemon juice and salt and fluff gently with a fork.

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