Muceddere (Brown Lentil Pilaf with Caramelized Onions)
Pilaf or pilav — a word originally derived from Turkish — is one of those foods in Turkish cuisine possessed of a ritual quality. It has an important place in ceremonial meals as well as everyday cooking. Though pilaf is made from a variety of grains, the first to come to mind in Turkey is rice pilaf, which always has had a special status.
Lentils are a favorite staple in Turkey, especially in villages and small towns where large groups of people eat together. Brown lentils can be combined with rice or bulgur to make pilaf. With the rich protein of lentils, this pilaf is a satisfying dish served with a layer of caramelized onions on top, Cacik (yogurt and cucumber sauce) and shepherd’s salad.
- 1 1/2 cups large brown lentils Add to list
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided Add to list
- 5 tablespoons high-heat oil, divided Add to list
- 2 large onions, coarsely chopped Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon Add to list
- 1 cup long-grain rice, washed and rinsed Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice Add to list
- 1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish Add to list
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes Add to list
Rinse and drain lentils and place in a large saucepan. Add water to cover by about 2 inches. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain thoroughly.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-low hea, add onions and cover with a lid. Cook onions until browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add cinnamon to caramelized onions.
In a Dutch oven or heavy pan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add rice. Sauté rice with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and allspice, then mix in the drained lentils. Season with black pepper. Pour in 1 cup water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
Tip rice mixture into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with caramelized onions; garnish with parsley and red pepper flakes.
Recipe by, PCC Cooks instructor