Meatless Monday Mujaddara

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This recipe  for Mujaddara came from Food52;  it was a contest winner for good reason.  To read the recipe does not begin to describe how delicious this is.  You have to make the yogurt sauce to go with it.  Don’t skip that step, Catherine.  (I hate it when she doesn’t follow the recipe.)  The caramelized onions add such depth of flavor to the lentils and rice and  it’s made even better with the addition of the yogurt sauce that is cool, bright and sultry, like me.  It’s the perfect combination of flavors that make it utterly satisfying without being too heavy.  Like me.DSC_0036
I also roasted eggplant and cauliflower and tossed it with some kale sautéed  with ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and a little curry powder, to serve alongside the mujaddara.   This would also be a great to make ahead meal to be packed up for lunch for a few days.  Just don’t forget to pack the yogurt sauce, Catherine.  Sheeesh!
-Andra
Mujaddara  by Rivka from Food 52
3/4 cups Puy lentils (aka French lentils, the tiny dark brown ones)
1 teaspoon salt, divided1 cup jasmine rice2 tablespoons butte3 tablespoons olive oil6 cups onions (about 3 medium onions), halved and thinly sliced
For the yogurt
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cumin (freshly ground, if possible)1/2 teaspoon coriander (freshly ground)1/2 teaspoon spicy paprika or aleppo pepper3 tablespoons chopped fresh mintJuice and zest of half a lemon1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.Put lentils, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 4 cups water in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer lentils until soft but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain lentils and set aside. Rinse pot.Add rice, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 1/2 cups water to the pot, set over medium heat, and bring to a boil. When water begins to boil, cover pot, transfer to oven, and cook for 17 minutes (the tried-and-true Amanda Hesser method!) until perfectly cooked. Remove from oven, uncover, and fluff with a fork. Set aside.While rice cooks, set a wide, deep sauté pan over medium-low heat and add butter and 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter has mostly melted, add onions and toss to incorporate with butter and oil.  After 5 minutes, onions will have softened slightly and started to release their liquid. Raise heat to medium and cook 10 to 12 minutes more, until onions are very soft and browned. Add water by the tablespoon if pan gets too dry or if onions start to stick. When onions are well browned, add last tablespoon of olive oil and raise heat to high. Cook another 3 to 4 minutes, until bottom layer of onions has charred and crisped; try not to stir too much, or onions won’t crisp up.Combine rice, lentils, and most of the onions in large serving bowl and let sit for at least 15 minutes, to marry the flavors together. (Truth be told, this dish improves with age.) Taste, and add more onions if desired.Meanwhile, make the yogurt: mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. (Yes, it’s really that simple.)If mujaddara has cooled significantly, reheat in a low oven or even in the microwave for a couple minutes. To serve, plate a big scoop of mujaddara and top with a dollop of yogurt.

Pan Roasted Salmon with Warm Lentil Salad

Somewhere in Europe, or maybe even a blue state, I bet parents enjoy a meal of salmon and lentils with their young children without their two-year old taking a bite of her salmon and then leaning over her plate and dramatically spitting it out while making a beginner’s phony gagging sound.

I was more annoyed that she ruined her serving for the rest of us who loved it than I was that she went to bed hungry.  Does that sound insensitive?  If so, it’s because I chose the wrong person to split my salmon with.

– Catherine

Curried Chicken Salad Collard Green Wraps with Lentil Salad

We had a health-night tonight after a not-so-healthy week.  I won’t go into the details but we needed a dose of green.  I made a curried chicken salad with leftover chicken from our weekly winner-winner-chicken-dinner.  I rolled the salad into collard green leaves with julienned red peppers and basil.  I also made a lentil salad with many of the same flavors of the chicken salad with the addition of a little freshly grated ginger.

The six-year-old resisted the collard greens at first but the lentil salad went down so quickly, the whole plate disappeared really without anyone realizing it.  I looked everywhere for the collard green leaf, under the table, in the trash, in his pocket, but I couldn’t find it.  I’m convinced he ate it.

Thankfully, I have enough for lunch tomorrow.  Or maybe breakfast,  it’s been known to happen.  Ask Catherine about how many bowls of lima beans she’s had before noon.  Some might call it a problem.

-Andra

Curried Chicken Salad

2 cups of cooked chicken, shredded

1 stalk of celery, diced

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

2 heaping tablespoons of mayonnaise

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/4 teaspoon of Garam Masala

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of coriander

Salt and pepper, to taste

6 Collard Green leaves, large, tough part of the stem cut out

Combine all of the ingredients and then roll into a collard green leaf just like making a burrito. Add other vegetables and fresh herbs according to your taste and what you have on hand.

Lentil Salad 

1 cup of lentils

2 cups of chicken stock or water

1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

1/4 teaspoon of Garam Masala

1/2 teaspoon of curry powder

1 teaspoon of cumin

1 teaspoon of coriander

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 carrot, peeled and diced

salt and pepper, to taste

Bring water or stock to boil and add the lentils.  Turn down the heat to simmer, partially covered, for 15-20 minutes. Test for doneness and drain.

While the lentils cook, combine the next eight ingredients to make the vinaigrette.

While warm, add the vinaigrette to the lentils with the diced carrots and salt and pepper to taste.

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