• 1 cup brown or green lentils (not lentils du Puy), sorted for debris and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 3 medium red onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup basmati rice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 (1-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, optional
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • Greek yogurt, for serving, optional
  • 1. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan. Fill with enough cold water to cover the lentils by about an inch. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  • 2. Meanwhile, heat a large high sided skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Allow the oil to warm for a minute, add the cumin seeds and cracked peppercorns and cook, shaking the pan once in a while until the cumin seeds darken a little about 1 minute. Add the onions, season with salt and cook until they turn dark caramel brown, stirring often. This will take about 15 minutes. Add a little water if they stick to the bottom of the pan. You'll know they're done both by their caramel color. Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove about half of the onions to a paper towel-lined plate; these are for garnish later. Add the ground cumin, cayenne and cinnamon stick; saute about 1 minute.
  • 3. Add the rice and cook, stirring often (but gently so you don't break the rice!) until some rice grains start to brown. Add the cooked lentils, 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt; bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes. The water should be completely evaporated and rice should be tender. Turn off the heat, keep the lid on, and allow the rice to steam undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
  • 4. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts, if using, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, shaking often, about 5 minutes.
  • 5. Taste the rice for seasoning. Serve with the reserved caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, if using, and a little squeeze of lemon juice and Greek yogurt if desired.
We made this amazing Lebanese side dish in our cooking class last night at White Gate Farm. So delicious and slightly additive with the right combination of spices and of course, caramelized onions. A real hit at your next dinner party.

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