Mess of Pottage (Mujadarah) (VEGETARIAN)
These days, mujadarah holds a very special place in my heart. Just as Esau, according to the Book of genesis, traded his birthright away to his brother Jacob for what many believe to have been a form of this “mess of Pottage”, when i’m stressed and missing home there’s not much i wouldn’t give up for a comforting bowl of this warming lentil stew.
Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes
300g/101⁄2oz/11⁄2 cups brown lentils, picked of any impurities and rinsed
4 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp coarse bulgur wheat (grade 3), rinsed
2 red onions, sliced into thin rings
2 tbsp olive oil
Zesty Green Salad
warm Arabic Bread
1 Put the lentils in a heavy-based saucepan, cover with about 1l/35fl oz/4 cups water and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour or until the lentils are soft.
2 Meanwhile, heat half the sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and fry for about 5 minutes until softened and lightly golden.
3 Use a slotted spoon to remove the onions from the pan and add them to the cooked lentil mixture. Add 250ml/9fl oz/1 cup water, the bulgur and seven-spice. Season to taste with salt and simmer for a further 20 minutes.
4 At the same time, heat the remaining sunflower oil in the frying pan over a medium heat and fry the red onion rings for 10–15 minutes until softened and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper using a slotted spoon.
5 Once the lentil mixture has finished cooking (the consistency should be that of a thick, moist porridge), pour in the olive oil and mix well. Adjust the seasoning, if required, then transfer to a large serving dish or individual bowls and leave to cool to room temperature. Top with the caramelized red onion rings and serve with a Salad and Arabic Bread.