|Written by Launie Kettler|
|Thursday, 15 March 2012 16:26|
The other day I was talking about leftover food with a group of people, and one of them said something that piqued my interest.
“I don't worry about leftovers, because I've been eating the same thing for lunch for the last 3 years.”
The only time I've ever heard of someone eating something that consistently, was when Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox worked together on Friends. Apparently they ate a Cobb Salad everyday for 10 years. In the small scheme of things I find that kind of consistency remarkable.
So, I asked my friendly acquaintance which lunch recipe kept him coming back for more. And he said it was Mujadara, a brown rice and lentil dish with fruit, nuts, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin. He said he uses pork or chicken in the dish as well. He said it's great either warm or at room temperature.
Well, well, well. Who wouldn't want to eat that consistently? This dish has the double benefit of being very budget conscious as well as incredibly delicious. And just saying: “I'm having Mujadara for lunch” makes a mid-day meal feel a little elegant.
For my trial batch I kept the Mujadara vegetarian, but I'm definitely going to try it with chicken or pork at some point. I also switched out the brown rice for wild rice, because it's one of the prettiest grains.
1 cup of black or green lentils
1 cup of wild rice
5 cups of vegetable or low-sodium chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
1 large onion, diced
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 cinnamon stick
1 cardamom pod
2 teaspoons of cumin
1 teaspoon of cayenne
½ cup of dried apricots, diced
¼ cup of cilantro, diced
Although you can cook the lentils and rice together, both wild rice and lentil cooking times can vary. So, for simplicity's sake I cooked them separately.
For the wild rice: In a saucepan melt a tablespoon of butter. Saute the rice for a minute - stirring frequently - and then add 3 cups of the broth or water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover. Check the rice after 40 minutes. If there is a little liquid let over, uncover the pot and continue cooking on very low heat until the liquid evaporates or you can just drain the liquid.
For the lentils: Pour the lentils in a strainer and run under cold water. Pick out any loose debris. Put the lentils into the saucepan and cover with 2 cups of the broth or water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 35-45 minutes. When the lentils are done, drain off any remaining liquid.
Add the diced onion to a frying pan with the olive oil, cumin, cayenne, cardamom and cinnamon stick. Season with salt and pepper and cook on low heat until the onions are soft and have some color, about 15 minutes. Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamom. Mix the rice, lentils and onion mixture together along with the apricot and cilantro.
(Photos by Launie Kettler)