This Levantine dish can be served as a side with fish or on its own. The masses of crisp onion give it an earthy sweetness.
- 185 ml olive oil (¾ cup)
- 40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
- 6 onions, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tsp ras el hanout (see note)
- 400 gm long-grain rice (2 cups)
- 750 ml chicken stock (3 cups)
- 200 gm green lentils (1 cup)
- To serve: natural yoghurt (optional)
- 4 Lebanese cucumbers, diced
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
- 3 cups coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1Preheat oven to 180C. Heat 125ml olive oil and half the butter in a large casserole over medium-high heat, add half the onion and stir occasionally until crisp and dark golden (15-25 minutes). Remove onion with a slotted spoon, repeat with remaining oil, butter and onions, then drain onion (reserve oil mixture) and set aside.
- 2Return oil mixture to pan, add garlic and spices and cook until fragrant (10-20 seconds), then add rice. Stir, add chicken stock, bring to the simmer, cover and bake until rice is just cooked (15-20 minutes).
- 3Meanwhile, for cucumber and parsley salad, combine ingredients in a bowl, season to taste and refrigerate until required.
- 4Meanwhile, cook lentils in boiling water until tender (10-15 minutes), drain and set aside. Stir lentils through rice during last 5 minutes of cooking and serve hot, topped with crisp onion, with cucumber and parsley salad and yoghurt.
Note Ras el hanout is a blend of many different spices, among them cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, coriander and rose, and is available from select delicatessens and online from www.herbies.com.au.
Drink Suggestion: Spicy grenache. Drink suggestion by Max Allen