This delicately spiced Middle Eastern lentils-and-rice dish features a mound of caramelized onions and a tangy yogurt topping. Be sure to use brown or green dried lentils ? red lentils do not hold their shape. Serve with a simple green salad with tomatoes. Recipe may be halved.
1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil over high heat. Add cinnamon stick, lentils, and rice, stirring once. Reduce heat to maintain a low simmer, cover, and cook until lentils and rice are tender and the water is absorbed, about 35 to 45 minutes. (Check after 30 minutes. If mixture appears overly dry, add an additional 2 to 4 Tbsp. water.) Remove from heat and uncover. Stir in salt and pepper.
2. While lentils and rice cook, prepare the onions. Spray a large nonstick skillet with olive oil cooking spray. Add oil and heat over medium-high heat. Add onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until onions become very soft and golden, about 35 to 45 minutes. At first onions will generate a lot of liquid, but as they caramelize, the liquid will evaporate.
3. While onions cook, prepare the yogurt topping. In a medium bowl stir together the yogurt, cucumber, and mint. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. To serve, spoon lentil and rice mixture onto a medium serving platter. Spoon onions along the center of the rice and lentil mixture, and serve the yogurt topping on the side.
Source: fresh magazine July, August 2010