I'm very demanding of a recipe. First, if it's going to be a staple, it's got to be quick and easy. I'll spend hours on a special dinner for my husband or a friend's birthday, but for the most part I'm not a gourmet chef. Next, it should be healthy. If it's also economical, that's a big plus. Naturally, it's got to be delicious because I'm not going to eat gruel just to save a few pennies. And finally, bonus points if it's a one-pot meal.
But not even all of those fine qualifications will give a recipe the designation of a PANTRY DINNER. That title goes only to those few and far between concoctions that satisfy all of the above-mentioned demands, along with being made from items normally found in your pantry. This particular recipe, which I received from my near-sister-in-law (my brother's girlfriend) is stellar on all counts. It's easy, healthy, delicious, incredibly economical, and contains just four ingredients which you can keep in your pantry once you buy the only one you may not already have (bulgar wheat). I hope you like it as much as we do....
1 cup lentils
1 cup coarse bulgar wheat
3 tsp salt
2 large yellow onions peeled and sliced thin
First par-cook the lentils: Put the lentils in a pot with water, place on stove and bring to a boil. Add 1 tsp salt and simmer uncovered for 12 minutes.
While the lentils are cooking, warm a frying pan, add ½ cup of olive oil. Warm the oil (not too hot) and add the onions. Cook stirring infrequently until the onions are brown and even crispy.
After 12 min, drain the water from the lentils, rinse the lentils and the pot. Return lentils to the pot along with the bulgar wheat and remaining 2 tsp salt. Add just enough water so that the water is at the same level as the lentils and bulgar in the pot. Too much water will lead to a bland mushy mess, as will attempting with fine grain bulgar wheat!
Place back on stove, bring to a boil again and immediately turn heat down, cover and simmer for 20 minutes (just like cooking rice), until all water is absorbed and the bulgar and lentils are tender.
Pour half the oil, or more, from the onion pan into the cooked mjederah and mix. Taste for salt (will most likely need more). Arrange the carmelized onions on top and serve.
Delicious accompanied by a lemony salad or plain yogurt.
This recipe makes a huge pot that will feed several people or provide leftovers for several days. My husband eats it plain without the carmelized onions, but it's too bland for me that way. You may have to buy the bulgar wheat at a health food store in bulk.
What's your favorite pantry dinner?