Monday, September 9, 2013
Today's archetypically earthy crunchy recipe is based on the classic Middle Eastern mujadarra, to which I've added extra seasonings and more vegetables. In addition to being a protein-packed nutritional powerhouse, it is seriously delicious, and so filling that a green salad and a glass of cold white wine is all you need for a perfect meal.
This dish is particularly fine topped with an optional but delicious sauce - a sort of embellished taratoor that my son calls "almost too good." So what are you waiting for? Start chopping onions, soak some lentils and cashews, and fire up the stove; you're only an hour or so away from nirvana! (Hippie pro tip: we listened to a Dead show on the internet archive while I made this latest batch, and I strongly suggest you do the same for the maximum in flavor-enhancing good vibes.)
~ 1 cup brown lentils
~ 1 cup long grain brown rice
~ 4 cups water or broth
~ 1 cinnamon stick
~ 1/4 cup olive oil
~ 3 large onions, chopped
~ 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
~ 2 large carrots, diced
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder
~ 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne (more to taste)
~ 1 lb. frozen, chopped spinach, thawed
~ 1/2 cup chopped, fresh cilantro
~ In a large, deep saucepan, combine the rice, the cinnamon stick, and the water or broth. Cover, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
~ Add the lentils, stir once, replace the lid and continue cooking for another 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.
~ While that's happening, heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet and cook the onions over medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking.
~ Add the garlic, carrots, and dried seasonings. Stir well and continue cooking about 15 minutes more, until everything is brown and fragrant. (You can add a splash of water if necessary to prevent sticking.)
~ Add the spinach and cook another few minutes, until it is just bright green.
~ Remove the cinnamon stick from the rice/lentil mixture and stir in the cooked vegetables and the fresh cilantro. Combine thoroughly, cook another few minutes until everything is hot, Serve on its own or topped with this yummy sauce.
Cashew Tahini Sauce
~ 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water at least 30 minutes
~ 1/2 cup tahini
~ 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
~ 3 cloves garlic, chopped
~ 1 - 1.5 cups water
~ Juice of 1 lemon
~ 1 tbsp. hot sauce (I used Frank's)
~ 1 tsp. each: salt, cumin
~ Drain the cashews and puree all ingredients in a food processor; transfer to a small saucepan and heat over a low flame, stirring frequently, until hot (about 5 minutes). Spoon generously over the mujadara. (NB that this thickens a bit as it heats up, and even more after being refrigerated, so you may want to add a little extra water to achieve your desired saucy consistency.)