TASTE OF LEBANON - LENTILS & BULGUR WHEAT

 

 

The flavour inspiration came following a trip to Beruit, and the grains/pulses inspirations from the work I did for Wonderbag in the Syrian refugee camps in Jordan.  For that work, we needed recipes with ingredients the local woman would recognize, and have access to.  After researching the cuisine of the area, and spending some time in both Jordan and Lebanon, I fell in love with not only the spices, but the grains used in this region. 

I decided to combine lentils with the bulgur as they both have relatively short cooking times, and you get a 'creaminess' that is similar to risotto, but with an exotic depth of flavor...especially when finished off with the feta, onion and coriander.

 

It's a fun fusion of middle eastern flavours, whole grains, and a european cooking style!

PREP TIME:  10 min

 

COOK TIME:

Conventional Method 1+ hours on the stove

Wonderbag Method 20 min on the stove; 1+ hours in the bag

SERVES:  4 as a main, 8 as a side

INGREDIENTS

FOR COOKING:

  • 310 g package of Taste of Lebanon Lentils & Bulgur

  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

  • 2 yellow onions, diced

  • 3 cups (720 ml)  water

  • Salt and pepper to taste

FOR SERVING INSPIRATIONS:

 

MIDDLE EASTERN "RISOTTO"

  • ½ cup (75 g) diced red onion

  • ½ cup (15 g) fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped

  • 1 cup (170 g) feta cheese crumbles

   

ADD PRAWNS (for 4 people)

  • 20-24 raw prawns (peeled & deveined)

  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced

  • ¼ cup olive oil

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

CONVENTIONAL METHOD

 

1)  Sort through the lentils and bulgur to make sure there are no little stones.  Rinse and drain.

 

2)  In a 1 ½ quart (2 litre) pot, saute onions in 3 Tbsp (45ml) olive oil for 8-10 minutes to let the onions become sweet and slightly brown.

 

3)  Stir in the lentils, bulgur, contents of the spice packet and the water.  Bring to a boil.

 

4)  Reduce heat to the lowest setting and simmer for 45 min to 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.

 

You may need to add more water due to evaporation.  Note - liquid should be fully absorbed when finished cooking.

WONDERBAG METHOD

 

1)  Sort through the lentils and bulgur to make sure there are no little stones.  Rinse and drain.

 

2)  In a 1 ½ quart (2 litre) pot, saute onions in 3 Tbsp (45ml) olive oil for 8-10 minutes to let the onions become sweet and slightly brown.

 

3)  Stir in the lentils, bulgur, contents of the spice packet and the water.  Bring to a boil.

 

4)  Reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered for 10 minutes.

 

5)  Seal your lidded pot in the Wonderbag and leave it to cook for a minimum of 1 hour to finish cooking (can be left 5-8 hours -  your lentils will not overcook nor turn to mush!).

SERVING INSPIRATIONS

MIDDLE EASTERN 'RISOTTO'

 

Stir in diced red onion, cilantro (coriander) and feta cheese crumbles.  Salt and pepper to taste (pictured above right) and serve.  or...

...ADD A FEW PRAWNS

Add onion, cilatro, feta, salt & pepper as directed above.

 

Mix raw, peeled prawns/shrimp (4-6 per person) with a bit of fresh diced garlic, dried red chili flakes and a dash of paprika.

 

Saute in olive oil for 1-2 minutes on each side, until prawns turn from grey to pink, arrange atop your Middle Eastern 'Risotto' and spoon over a bit of the oil and garlic from the pan.

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS 'BURGER' IDEA

When completely cooled, mix 1 egg per 2 cups (400 g*) leftover lentil, bulgur, feta, onion, cilantro mixture.

 

Pack tightly into round patties and refrigerate overnight.

 

Pan-fry for 4 to 5 min per side in a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat.

 

Serve with burger toppings of choice!

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS:  LEBANESE PIZZA

Bake a whole wheat tortilla in the oven at 350F/180c for 6-8 minutes to crisp it up.

 

Remove from oven spread with tomato sauce, cooked lentils and bulgur, and toppings of choice.

 

Bake for 8-10 min.  Yummy!

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS:  LEBANESE OMELETTE

Fill an omelette with sautéed onions, feta cheese and a few spoonfuls of your leftover cooked lentils and bulgur. 

 

Top with fresh cilantro (coriander) and diced red onion as desired.

 DETAILED HOW-TO VIDEO

Click below to see the start-to-finish process and explanations

Recipe & Photo Credit:  Cathy Menees

Video Credits:  Hannah Menees and Sierra Bonilla

COOK'S NOTES

INGREDIENTS

Unlike beans, there is no need to soak lentils overnight (unless you plan to cook them with an acidic sauce).

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVER BURGERS

* Proportions:  When there are only 2 of us for dinner, I usually have about 2 ¼ cups left over, which is 400g.  I mix that amount with one egg and the patties hold together nicely in the pan. 

COOKING

 

Avoid cooking lentils in salted water as they may not properly soften.  Always add your salt and tomatoes or other acidic condiments after cooking.

KITCHEN BUDDIES

You can of course cook lentils and bulgur on the stove for the full time...but the reason the Wonderbag is your best friend here is that lentils can be tricky and easily turn into a mushy paste if you don't watch them.

 

The Wonderbag takes the worry out of the cooking.  Magically, you can leave the lentils for 1.5 hours or 8 hours and they will not be overcooked or mushy.  They will maintain their texture and bite, so you can mix them with anything you want without ever ending up with 'paste'.

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