You guessed it. It's Legume Wednesday! And that means I scoured the book for legume recipes. There's a fantastic looking lentil salad that I really came close to making. But in the end, I chose to make Lentils and Rice Pilaf, Fakorizo. And WOW, I'm glad I did.
I substituted brown rice for the converted rice the recipe calls for, simply because I don't have any converted rice in the house. Because I used the brown rice, I had to up the amount of chicken stock by a cup. The result was the chewy brown rice played perfectly against the mushy lentils. And the tomato flavored oil sauce really flavored the whole dish. The Brain, who usually remains mute on most dishes told me it was "good" and had two very large helpings. I consider it success.
The lovely ladies of the Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral even provide some tips on how to make the dish suitable for Lent. I'm Roman Catholic, which means I'm not allowed to eat meat on Fridays in Lent. According to the book, Lent lasts 40 days and a strict fast is traditionally observed. "No meat, fish, milk, butter, cheese, or eggs are to be eaten until Easter Sunday. Today, few follow this fast totally; instead, they hold to it on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. However, all comply with this strict diet during Holy Week, the week preceding Easter." This is a much stricter fast than I do. It might be interesting to try it next year. If I remember.
Lentils and Rice Pilaf
from The Complete Book of Greek Cooking by The Recipe Club of Saint Paul's Greek Orthodox Cathedral
1 cup lentils, picked over
6 cups chicken stock
1 cup brown rice
salt to taste
1/2 cup minced onion
1/2 cup olive oil
1 can petite diced tomatoes, drained well (about 1 cup)
black pepper to taste
Wash lentils. Boil them in chicken stock in a deep pot for 5 minutes. Add rice and salt and simmer, covered, until all liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. Saute onion in oil for 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. As soon as lentil-rice mixture is cooked, remove from heat and add sauce. Sprinkle with pepper.
Note: This can be served as a Lenten dish if plain water is substituted for chicken stock.
Variation: If orzo is used instead of rice, increase the amount of chicken stock by 1/2 cup