Lentils Syrian Style
From "Little Foods of the Mediterranean" by Clifford A. Wright
Adapted by Kim O'Donnel from washingtonpost.com (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
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.