Monday, November 06, 2006
Love me Two Times, Baby.
I just love Mujaderra. It's a super comforting food that makes perfect use of leftover rice and leftover lentils so you can fall in love with them both again. Well ok - maybe you, dear reader, are not in love with rice and lentils. I do admit that I have a tendency to gush. But hey, it's my blog and I can gush if I want to. And you just might fall in love with them if you try them this way.
I originally found the recipe for Mujaderra from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and it has made regular appearances in my kitchen ever since.
The bonus about this recipe is that it is simple, adaptable, and just plain easy. And it goes like this:
Take 1 big fat onion and cut it into nice thin little crescents. Then heat a generous couple of tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. I prefer to do this in a cast iron skillet. Sometimes I use a mixture of olive oil and unsalted butter. Next, add the onions and fry them, stirring constantly for about 10 minutes or so until they start to become golden brown. Now, turn the heat down to medium low and keep on cookin' those onions until they get nice and carmelized. Add some salt and freshly ground pepper as you go. There now - doesn't your kitchen just smell glorious?
Once the onions are soft, savory, golden and sweet, toss in those leftover lentils and rice. The proportions don't matter so much. I prefer mine heavy on the rice, but just use what you have. Stir it up so the onions mingle nicely with the rice and lentils and heat till it's just warm. Season with plenty of salt and freshly ground pepper, and you're done.
Feeling creative? Go right ahead and add some finely chopped herbs or steamed greens. My dear friend Kanteen mentioned that sometimes she adds a teeny bit of molasses. The possibilities are abundant! You can sautee the onions in clarified butter instead of olive oil. You can use green lentils or french lentils, brown rice or basmati or jasmine.
Use your imagination, or don't - you're still going to love this dish. You can eat it straight up or use it as a bed to serve under grilled fish. Or you can use it to stuff peppers or squash... you get the picture. Some things are just better the second time around!