Mujaddara with Bulgur Wheat and Toasted Orzo
Serves 6 to 8
My new favorite version of mujaddara, the flawless combination of lentils, rice and caramelized onions is made with large-grain bulgur wheat, a tip I learned from my favorite Lebanese cafe. Serve this perfect one-pot meal with a simple tomato and cucumber salad and plenty of harissa or your favorite hot sauce! Muhadra is also good snacked on at room temperature for a light lunch.
Look for the largest grain bulgur wheat (cracked, pre-cooked and dried whole wheat berries) you can find, sometimes labeled as size #3. The orzo can be replaced with any small pasta such as tiny macaroni or large grain couscous.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound yellow onions, peeled, sliced in half and cut into 1/4 thin half moons
½ cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 cup large grain bulgur, rinsed and soaked in hot water for 30 minutes
1 cup uncooked brown or green lentils
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 cups water or vegetable broth or a combination (use less salt if using all broth)
Freshly ground pepper
Handful chopped flat leaf parsley
1. In a large heavy pot with a tight fitting lid or a cast iron Dutch oven, saute over medium high heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil and the sliced onions. Fry the onions, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, until the onions are deep golden brown and caramelized, about 18 to 22 minutes. Set aside about 1/4 cup of onion for garnish if desired…if I’m just making this for a simple dinner or a a few lunches I don’t bother with garnishes! Move the remaining onions to a plate for now.
2. Heat the remaining oil and saute the couscous or orzo for 3-4 minutes or until golden, add the and fennel seeds and continue to saute for another minute. Stir in the drained bulgur, lentils, coriander, cumin and salt, and then pour in the water. Increase the heat and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, stir the pot a few times and cover tightly. Simmer for 45-55 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the lentils are tender. Pour the sauteed onions (except for the garnish if using) onto the bulguer, add a few twists of ground pepper and use the wooden spoon or a spatula to stir thoroughly stir in the onions. Mound the mujaddara into a large serving bowl, garnish with the remaining fried onions and the chopped parsley. Serve hot or at room temperature.