Tuesday, March 25, 2014
I've been trying out more vegetarian dishes lately - while A and I both enjoy meat, it helps to have some more vegetable based meals here and there for variety and health's sake. Plus our friend AB has gone vegetarian recently so when he's over for meals it makes sense to just find a tasty vegetarian dish that everyone can enjoy. This recipe called out to me as soon as I saw it, and it was a hit, even if the crusty bit didn't quite turn out as expected. This may be due to me messing around with proportions and not being so precise at measuring out yogurt, but who cares when it tastes good?
Stuck Pot Rice with Lentils and Yogurt
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Serves 6 generously (a main dish)
1 1/2 cup green lentils, rinsed
1 1/2 cups white basmati rice, rinsed well
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion (or 5 small ones in my case), thinly sliced
1/4 cup plain yogurt, I used low-fat, 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
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
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.
Heat the same pot over medium-high heat. Once heated, add 2 tablespoons oil; one 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.
Add onions to bowl with rice and lentils. Stir in yogurt, lemon juice, water, cumin and pepper, plus additional salt to taste.
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 30 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. Remove from heat, and let sit 5 minutes more.
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. (I'll confess I didn't even really get crisp pieces, more like crisp bits - there was no crust, just crispy rice, but it was delicious anyway.) Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve with lemon wedges and additional plain yogurt.