By Bert Jackson
This is a very easy dish to make. Don't let its simplicity fool you, the flavors combine for a stew that is extremely satisfying and delicious. It was very popular at my vegetarian restaurant many years ago. We adapted it from a recipe in Frances Moore Lappé's Diet for a Small Planet.
1 1/2 cups green lentils
3/4 cups short or medium grain brown rice
2 large onions, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 cups water
While not necessary, I like to soak my rice and beans overnight with a piece of kombu (a type of sea vegetable). It helps make the beans more digestible for those who are sensitive. Wash then rice and beans, drain, then cover with water. Discard the water the next day.
A large cast iron pot is ideal .
Chop the onions and sauté in the olive oil until cooked. Add the drained rice and lentils. Sauté everything together for about five minutes. Add the water and salt, bring to a boil then simmer for about an hour, until the consistency is smooth and creamy. Be sure to stir occasionally. Once the heat is off, let it stand for another half hour or so, and give it another stir.
M'Jeddrah is traditionally served hot over salad greens with a vinaigrette dressing. Use romaine lettuce or similar, the heartier leaves will stand up better to the heat. The hot/cold, smooth/crunch combinations are delicious!
Bert Jackson currently sits on the board of the Cape Cod Culinary Incubator. He spent seven years as owner of the Sweet Life Café in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands, a ground-breaking vegetarian restaurant.