Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Growing up, we would occasionally go to a Mediterranean bakery and pick up tons of different things for a delicious Greek dinner. It was so much fun to have such different dishes - I loved the tzatziki and the hummus but my sister's favorite dish (by far) was the mudajara.  Mudajara (also spelled mudajarah among several other variations) is a Greek lentils and rice dish; however, the real secret to it is the caramelized onions.  My mom joked that you can't have enough caramelized onions and it's true! I added 2 whole onions to this dish and would consider adding even more next time.

This dish is incredibly good for you and was pretty simple -- it only needed a few ingredients, all of which were in my pantry). The prep work couldn't be simplier but it does take quite a bit of cooking time.  However, I made the caramelized onions several days in advance and even made the mudajara a day ahead.  About 20 minutes before dinner time, I threw the pre-cooked mudajara in a pot on medium-low with an extra 1/2 cup of chicken broth, covered the pot and stirred occasionally. It really made dinner easy that night!

(We were too hungry for photos.  And let's just say that mudajara tastes much better than it looks!)

Taken from: Elly Says Opa
Serves: 3-4
  • 1.5-2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 medium yellow onions, cut in half and then into slices
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 2.5 cups water, broth or a combo (you may need extra)
  • salt and pepper
-Caramelized onions (can be done ahead of time): Heat a deep saute pan or medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the olive oil.  Once hot, add the onions.  Cook for two or three minutes over medium heat and then reduce to medium-low.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are a dark golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
-Stir in the cumin, bay leaves, cinnamon, lentils and brown rice and saute for a minute before adding the liquid. Season lightly with salt and pepper.  Increase the heat to bring to a boil.  Cover and simmer until the rice and lentils are tender, about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding extra liquid if necessary.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.


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