When I was growing up I distinctly remember one of my brother's friends loving a dish my mom made. A dish that frankly doesn't look the most appetizing, it's brown, smooth and pretty simple. He used to call it, Lentil Pudding. Truly, that is exactly what Mujadara is, a savory lentil porridge or pudding. Pronounced moo-juh-d uh,
this lentil dish can be found on many Lebanese tables.
Lebanese cuisine isn't fussy, stuffy or lavish. Many dishes aren't particularly technical to make. Overall, most of the meals are what we could call, peasant meals. Meals that cost merely pennies to make but fulfilling enough for a large family and to stretch your budget.
My family wasn't rich growing up, my mom used to stretch our food budget to make the most of it, yet we never were deprived of type of food. Everything she made for us was comforting and nourishing and included a variety of meats, grains and vegetables.
I appreciate now what I grew up with, the comforting meals, the simpleness of it all. I can't remember if I particularly liked Mujadara as a kid but the fact that my kids adore it is enough for me to make it again and again and relive my childhood.
Most of the Mujadara you've seen will include the whole lentil, large grains of rice mixed in and the sacred caramelized onions on top. This version is a bit different, one extra step of taking our cherished lentils and actually extracting everything out of each bean then gently cook the filling with a little bit of rice. The result is a smooth, porridge-like dish. Enjoyed with pita bread and a salad with garlic and lemon dressing it is simple enough for Meatless Monday or to serve to guests.
I think the hardest part of this recipe is making sure you own a food mill, yup, a food mill! I know it's another gadget but I promise you it is well worth it to make Mujadara and not to mention the BEST mashed potatoes EVER! You can also use it to seed fruit, make jams and more. So it's worth it, I've linked it above for you, I prefer the plastic body over the metal.
From there, it's all about boiling some beans and rice, pretty simple. Great to make in the morning and have ready for dinner or even over the weekend. It's actually best served room temperature which makes it awesome to make ahead!
You'll simmer the lentils until they are soft and tender, next, using your food mill pour the lentils and water mixture through and begin to work through the small-holed disk. The lentil water mixture will come through the bottom (be sure to have a pot underneath). After all your lentils have been extracted, bring your pot of lentil "broth" back to the stove. Add in your rice and cook gently until the rice softens and the mixture thickens slightly. That's it! Salt to taste and pour into your dishes, dinner is served.