With a number of ingredients and multiple pans on the stove, this is a more involved recipe than most in this book BUT, if you can plan well enough to make it ahead of time, it pays off, especially since it can double as a light vegetarian meal or pair up with very quickly and simply cooked protein, such as grilled chicken or roasted salmon. In other words, this super-flavorful and very affordable combination of rice
and lentils takes some work, but can be the star of the meal.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 1 cup dried brown lentils, rinsed and sorted
- 5 whole peppercorns
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 whole star anise (optional, but recommended)
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Olive oil, to finish (optional)
- 1 cup Caramelized Onions, to serve
- 1⁄2 cup plain Greek-style yogurt, for garnish (optional)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, for garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1⁄2 a juicy lemon), to finish (optional)
- Place 2½ cups of water and the lentils, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf in a medium-size pot set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, until the lentils are cooked through but not mushy, 20 to 30 minutes. (You may need to add water along the way to ensure that the lentils remain just barely covered with water as they cook.) Drain, picking out the peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaf; season with 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt and set aside.
- In the meantime, place the rice in another medium-size pot along with 2 cups of water and the butter, star anise, and remaining 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt. Cook according to the package directions or the directions on page 30 and set aside.
- When ready to serve, transfer the lentils and rice to a large serving bowl and gently stir to mix well. Season with salt and pepper to taste; I also like to add a teaspoon of good olive oil. Top with the caramelized onions. If desired, combine the yogurt with a drizzle of olive oil (up to 1 teaspoon), mint, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste and dollop on top of each serving.