Lentils & Rice with Caramelized Onions (WHB #58)
As a law student who puts in a lot of study time, let me tell you that the last thing I want to do on a beautiful sunny Saturday is study some more. Yet that's exactly what I found myself doing today - the price I had to pay for letting myself get behind last week. When dinnertime rolled around, I was definitely not in the mood to go grocery shopping, so I skimmed a few cookbooks for a recipe that I could make with ingredients I had in the apartment.
I settled on Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions, a phenomenal recipe from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything cookbook. This dish is really delicious, and it's healthy - even perfect for South Beach phase 2 or 3. It was so easy, and although it took about an hour, a lot of that was downtime, so I was able to keep doing work/reading as I cooked. I was feeling lazy and contemplating leaving out the caramelized onions, but I stuck with the recipe and now I'd definitely encourage you to do the same: those onions make the dish something special.
I've always been a big fan of lentils. They've been a part of the human diet for thousands of years and in fact were one of the very first domesticated crops in history. Lentils have been so crucial in our diet for good reason - they have 25% protein, more than any other vegetable beside soybeans. Not only that, but they also have tons of fiber. And they're delicious!
There are many different kinds of lentils. The most popular among chefs is the French green lentil (Puy lentil) because they stay firm after cooking and have a rich flavor. The most common kind of lentil, and the kind I used in preparing this dish, is the Indian brown lentil, which tends to get mushy if you cook it too long, so be careful!
This dish is a really great way to prepare and serve lentils. As you can see from the picture, I sprinkled some Hawaiian black lava salt on top, which has a really awesome flavor. You can experiment with different kinds of salts and spices with this dish, if you like, because the lentils and rice are truly versatile.
One more fun fact about lentils: the optical lens is named after the lentil, whose shape it resembles.
Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped, plus another onion, halved and sliced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups lentils washed and picked over
- About 6 cups chicken, beef, or vegetable stock
- 1 cup long- or short-grained rice
This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging #58, which is hosted this week by Meeta of What's For Lunch Honey?. Make sure to check it out when she posts her round-up of this week's yummy recipes!