Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bacon Saving

You need to eat more vegetables, she said.

I’m on the Atkin’s Diet, he said.

Since when, she said?

Since this morning, he said.

I smell bacon, she said.

You’re having an olfactory hallucination, he said.

No meat for the rest of the week, she said.

!!!, he said.

I mean it and you’d better produce something good, she said.

*#$@%**, he said.

It so happened that just that very day an interesting recipe had been posted on one of the prime food blogs that just might fill the bill. Vegetarian and with no spices. Hmmm, no spices? What’s up with that?

The dish is called “mujadara” and it derives its wonderful flavor from caramelized onions combined with lentils and basmati rice.

You can read all about it at Orangette but I’ll provide the blueprint here.

You’ll need a couple of onions (I used red Spanish onions as I would for onion soup), a cup of lentils, half a cup of rice and some olive oil and salt. That’s it.

Chop the onions into small pieces and fry them in about a quarter cup of olive oil until they’re golden brown, same as you would for onion soup. Scrape and turn, scrape and turn for about 20 minutes until the onions are golden, brown and possibly black in spots. Cooking the onions thoroughly is essential to this recipe.

While this is going on, as if you have nothing better to do, cover the lentils with about an inch of water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes. You probably won’t need to drain them and I wouldn’t bother because of what happens next.

Add the rice to the onions and mix it up. Add the lentils, a teaspoon of salt, two cups of water, mix well, bring to a boil then simmer for 20-30 minutes.

That’s it.

I was a little worried that the recipe didn’t call for garlic or black pepper or cumin or curry powder, but I needn’t have been concerned.

This is the best thing you’ve ever cooked, she said.

You always say that, he said.

Yeah, but this time I really mean it, she said.

He said nothing but thought, “Thanks, Molly!”

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