Monday, March 24, 2014

Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils

This was the main dish that we had with the curried roasted carrots.  To be honest, I didn't get the title at first. I had never heard of "stuck-pot" rice or anything like it.  But the basic idea is that the bottom of the rice gets a little crispy which adds a great flavor and texture to the dish.  And I love anything with lentils so this rice/lentil/sauteed onion dish was right up my alley! It's very similar to the Mediterranean dish mudajara.  I added chopped spinach and roasted eggplant to this dish, both of which were a great addition!

I actually made it several weeks ago and we liked it so much, I'm planning to make the exact same meal (curried roasted carrots and all) for my parents tonight!

Stuck-Pot Rice with Lentils
Taken from: Smitten Kitchen
Serves 4-6
  • 1 cup brown or green lentils, washed and picked over
  • 1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed well
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, preferably whole-milk though low-fat will work, plus additional for serving
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus additional lemon wedges for serving
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Freshly ground black pepper or red pepper flakes
  • 3 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • Optional: 1 small eggplant, chopped into 1-inch cubes (to roast)
  • Optional: Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, cilantro or mint for garnish
  1. If roasting eggplant, preheat oven to 425. 
  2. Bring a medium-sized heavy pot with a tight fitting lid (so you can use one pot for all the steps) of salted water to a boil. Add lentils and rice and return to a boil. Simmer the mixture for five minutes without stirring. Drain mixture and transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Heat the same pot over medium-high heat. Once heated, add 1 tablespoons oil; once oil is warm, add onions and a couple pinches of salt and cover with a lid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly caramelized and brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Add onions to bowl with rice and lentils. Stir in yogurt, lemon juice, water, cumin and pepper, plus additional salt to taste.
  5. Heat pot again over medium-high heat. Once fully hot, add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Once that is hot, return rice mixture to pot, pressing it in. (It will sizzle.) Wrap clean kitchen towel around lid of pot so it completely covers inside of lid; gather corners on top so they do not fall anywhere near stove. Place lid on pot, sealing tightly. Reduce heat to very low. Cook undisturbed about 25 minutes; rice should smell toasty but not burned and you might need to check on it once or twice if you’re making it for the first time. Add chopped spinach on top of the mixture and then close the towel-wrapped lid again. Remove the pot from heat, and let sit 5 minutes more.
  6. If roasting eggplant, while the rice dish is cooking, combine eggplant with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Spread into a single layer on a baking sheet and put in preheated oven.  Cook for about 15 minutes, then stir the eggplant.  Cook for about 10 minutes more until eggplant is soft and some of the pieces are caramelized.
  7. Carefully remove lid and cloth, and turn pot upside down over a platter. If rice comes out in a single crust, terrific. If not, use a spatula to scrape crisp pieces out of pan and onto remaining rice. Stir in the roasted eggplant, if using.
  8. Garnish with chopped parsley and cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges and additional plain yogurt.


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