Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Eat Like an Egyptian

I have recently started making an effort to serve one or two meatless meals a week.  I often make spaghetti or chili without meat, so it’s not totally new to me, but I made the conscious decision to do it more regularly as a way to spend less on groceries.  A few weeks ago that led me to try kusherie, a recipe I found in a library book I had, The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook.

Kusherie is Egyptian lentils and rice.  The recipe from the cookbook is reprinted here in a Denver Post article, but there are lots of versions around the web.  I tried it because I had all the ingredients and it looked pretty simple, but honestly I wasn’t expecting much based on the ingredient list.  As it turned out, we all enjoyed it, and Skippy even asked to have it again so I served it last night, too.  It’s not gourmet by any means, but more in the category of comfort food.

 

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As is usually the case, I did not follow any recipe exactly, but mostly followed the $5 Dinner recipe.  It takes several pots and pans, but it’s not at all difficult.  Here’s what I did:

1.  Cook 1 cup (or more) of elbow macaroni

2.  Cook 1 cup of brown rice (I use quick-cooking brown rice)

3.  Cook 1 ¼ cups green lentils (simmer on med-hi heat in about 4 cups of water until soft—not mushy—this took me 30-45 mins)

4.  While the lentils are cooking, combine the sauce ingredients and simmer for at least 20 mins:   

  • 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped celery leaves (I didn’t chop them and just put them in while it simmered, then removed them)

5.  Slice an onion, separate into rings, and cook it slowly in a little olive oil until browned/caramelized

6.  Combine the lentils and rice; if desired, stir a little of the sauce into the macaroni.

7.  To serve, put a scoop of macaroni on the plate, top with lentil/rice mixture, spoon some sauce over it, and top with browned onions.

I was the only one in the family who would eat the onions, but in my opinion they are a vital component of the dish, so if you like onions at all, make a lot.  They are cooked past the sharp in-your-face onion flavor to a mild sweetness, so it’s worth trying even if you think you don’t like onions.

 

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Inexpensive, easy, and a kid-pleaser…I think this is going to go into the rotation!

7 comments:

Tracy Suzanne said...

Hey Holly. That looks so good. The colors make such an attractive meal. I've never ate lentils. Maybe I'll give it a try.

I wanted to let you know I've got something for you over at Cotton Pickin Cute (well I will have by daylight-haha).

Hugs...Tracy :)

The Cannary's, est. 1985 said...

YUM. I will definitely try that - I have onion loving peeps here, so i will make plenty. Thanks!

Nadir@StitchSense said...

This looks SOOO yummy! I seriously need to try this. My hubby is a hardcore carnivore but this dish looks simple & hearty enough to fill him up w/ no meat. Thanks for the recipie!

dixie said...

That looks really yummy!! I need to try it. Here's a thought for you - next time to make rice for dinner, cook extra and freeze it so you have it ready to go for this recipe. Same with your pasta. It would save you a couple of pots.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

I think that looks delicious! MY kids seem to be going through a really picky stage. :s If it's not nuggets, they don't want anything to do with it. Driving me nuts, because I refuse to be a short order cook. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

Leah said...

wow..that's a perfect pantry meal. will definitely be trying this..thanks!

Kristen said...

That has so much going on that I doubt anyone would miss the meat in my family. It's a great staple meal...thanks.