I finally woke up to a dark, gloomy, and chilly morning, which after having lived half of my life in Florida, is an occasion for excitement. Autumn is my favorite time of the year. It calls for hot teas, cozy fires, revitalizing meals, good reads, and most importantly, good company.
Mujadarra, which is a traditional Levantine dish made with plenty of caramelized onions, rice, green lentils, and a generous amount of spices, is the perfect comfort food for the chilly months ahead. It’s warming… oh so warming, for the body and the soul. Mujadarra’s heartiness and generosity in flavor makes it a favorite for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. And my version, involves a twist that only enlivens the goodness. Freekeh, a toasted green wheat with a rich character provides a smoky and wholesome addition to the dish in place of the rice. And it is GOOD.
I love this meal so much as it is not only comfort food, but also feel-good food. It is undeniably my favorite meal at the moment. And if you crave this warm feeling of satisfaction, I recommend you give it a try. I trust that you will not be disappointed.
INGREDIENTS/ SERVES 2
1/4 cup/ 59 ml. olive oil
2 large red onions, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup/ 195 gr. small green lentils, well rinsed
1 cup/ 140 gr. whole grain freekeh, well rinsed
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
good grinding freshly ground black pepper
fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
toasted pine nuts, for garnish
green onion, chopped, for garnish
1. Sauté the onions in olive oil in a medium pot for about 10 minutes over medium-high heat until soft, golden, and caramelized. Spoon out about half of the onion and set aside for garnish. Add the garlic, cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, all spice, and ground cumin. Stir for another 3 minutes to bring out their flavors.
2. Stir in the lentils and freekeh and cook for about a minute, add 4 cups/ 945 ml. of boiling water, salt, and pepper, and stir together. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and leave to cook for 30-35 minutes or until the lentils are thoroughly cooked and the liquid has been absorbed. If there is any liquid that has not been absorbed after 35 minutes, remove the lid and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Check for salt and adjust to your liking.
3. Garnish with the remaining onion, fresh parsley, and toasted pine nuts, and serve right away!