Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving mujadarra

What's a vegan gluten-free Thanksgiving main dish that's filling, savory, and made from scratch? This is my answer. It's mostly this, with a bit of this for good measure. The three components—wild rice, caramelized onions, and aromatic lentils—can be made ahead separately, tossed together in any order, and heated through at the end before serving. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

2 1/4 c wild rice

Cook the wild rice, ideally until just tender. Cooking it as recommended in the rice cooker, ie in 6 c water on the brown rice cycle, results in overdone rice. You might want to try what the bag and the Epicurious recipe say, ie cook on the stove for 45 minutes.

2 T earth balance
3 medium onions, thinly sliced
glug of red wine for deglazing

Melt the earth balance in a large cast-iron frying pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook slowly until translucent, stirring every 5-ish minutes. When they are uniformly translucent and starting to get some color (this takes 20-30 minutes) turn up the heat very slightly and begin to stir every 2-ish minutes. After another 15-20 minutes, turn up the heat slightly again and stir frequently. You can keep going like this as long as you like; at least an hour is really necessary to get a deep caramel color and flavor. When you're finally ready to be done, deglaze the pan with some red wine, scraping up all those delicious onion bits. (If you're cooking other savory things like mushroom gravy, do so in the onion pan without washing it. Mmm.)

glug olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
2 carrots, quartered and sliced thin
1 cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
1.5 c French green lentils
5 c stock
dozen allspice berries
dozen whole cloves
3 cardamom pods

Heat the oil over medium low in a large pot. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute for a few minutes. Add the carrots, cinnamon stick, and bay leaves, and saute while you boil the water for stock. When the stock is ready, add it and the lentils to the pot. Put the rest of the whole spices in a tea ball and drop into the pot too. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender. Check on them occasionally and give them a stir.

When you're ready to serve, toss everything together in a pot on the stove and heat on low until warmed through. Eat a little bit, and eat a lot of what everyone else brought!

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