Here's an uncomplicated and low-impact recipe that stands on its own, or can be served as a side dish. It's a variation on mujadrah, a comfort food that's popular throughout the Middle East.
- 3 cups of dry lentils
- 1 cup of long grain or brown rice
- 1/2 cup of olive oil
- 4 medium onions, peeled
- 6 cups water or low-sodium vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- cayenne pepper to taste (optional)
Dice two of the peeled onions. Set aside with the rice and lentils.
Take the two remaining onions, halve, then cut into slices about 3/4 inch thick. Cook in the olive oil on medium-high heat until golden brown (about 10 minutes). Remove with slotted spoon and set aside on a paper-towel covered plate to drain. Do not discard oil.
Sauté the diced onions in oil until they're soft. Add the rinsed lentils — beware of splattering. Stir together and toast the lentils for two or three minutes. Add the water and all the seasonings. Bring to a boil, then allow to simmer about 10 minutes. The lentils should become tender.
Add the rice to your simmering pot. Cook about 25 minutes or until the rice is done. White rice will cook faster than brown varieties.
When the rice is done, transfer the finished pilaf to a serving plate or bowl. Top with the previously reserved caramelized onions. Can be served with a side of pita bread, olives or hummus.