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.




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.




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


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!

Anonymous 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.