Meatless Monday Mujaddara

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!
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.

“Sipping Chicken Soup with Rice”

Chicken Soup January

In January it’s so nice, 

While slipping on the sliding ice,

To sip hot chicken soup with rice.

Sipping once,

sipping twice, 

Sipping chicken soup with rice.
                                        -Maurice Sendak

Make this soup and chant this poem while you enjoy.   Every month, my son’s first grade class acts out the poems from this very fun book, Chicken Soup with Rice  A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak.   The first time I made this recipe, his 6 year old best friend came over for dinner and we sang this poem as we ate.  Our guest was so polite he told me that he loved mushrooms but I later found out from his mom that he actually wasn’t very fond of them but didn’t want to seem impolite.   With manners like that, he is assured an invitation to dinner any time he wants.

With or without mushrooms, this is a really good recipe.  Don’t leave out the vermouth!  It’s a great weeknight meal but could easily be dressed up for a more elegant affair.  Chanting in a formal dining room though might scare your guests.



Chicken and wild rice soup 

3 tablespoons of butter

1 cup onion, diced

1 cup celery, diced

1/3 cup flour

6 cups low sodium chicken broth

6 ounces of baby bella mushrooms, cut into 1/4 inch slices

4 cups cooked wild rice

1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts, roasted and then shredded

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons of vermouth

1- 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in the bottom of a large heavy dutch oven.  Add the onion and celery and cook until translucent.  Add the flour and stir to coat.  Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and cream.  Add the rice, chicken and mushrooms salt and pepper and vermouth and cook over medium heat until the soup has thickened slightly, 20 minutes or so,  but do not boil. Check for seasoning and serve.

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