Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lentils Syrian Style

Lentils Syrian Style
From "Little Foods of the Mediterranean" by Clifford A. Wright
Adapted by Kim O'Donnel from (her notes in parenthesis, mine in italic)

2 tablespoons garlic, peeled (from about 8 large cloves)
1 ½ cups dried lentils (ordinary brown or green variety; I used French
green lentils with great success)
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 Swiss chard leaves, washed, dried, stems removed and sliced into
thin strips
¾ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves (about 1 bunch) I left this out
At least 1 cup water (or remaining lentil liquid)
1 tablespoon juice of a lemon
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses (available at Middle East groceries) I found it in Shoppers

Using a mortar and pestle, pound the garlic until pulverized. Alternatively, smash garlic with a chef's knife, then continue mashing it. You don't want minced garlic, which tends to burn. I ended up just smashing it and then chopping it up some.
Rinse lentils in a sieve, holding back stones or grit. Place lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring up to a boil, then lower heat and cook lentils at a simmer, until tender, between 30 and 45 minutes. Check doneness after first 20 minutes, then every 10 minutes, as cooking time varies according to age of lentils. Drain and set aside; reserve cooking liquid if using. Salt lentils to taste. (KOD note: I've used one teaspoon of salt here and needed no additional salt at the end.)
Add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil to the emptied, rinsed-out pot, over medium heat, then add chard until wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove chard; set aside.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add garlic and cilantro, stirring constantly. Cook about 1 minute, reduce heat and return chard, plus lentils and liquid of choice. Stir to combine and cook on medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and stir again.

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