Christos Anesti (Christ has risen) to all my Christian readers.
Hope you had a joyful Easter! This recipe is one of those I cooked at the restaurant, at the beginning on Lent, when I was in Cyprus, for the staff.
I love dried legumes, especially lentils and if I were to chose between a meat dish or a legume dish, I would definitely choose the latter. This is one of the reasons I have made so many twists to the classic Cypriot dish “Fakhes Moutjentra”.
In this recipe I have added grated carrots and tomotoes and instead of adding rice I substituted it with orzo. I served it with caramelized onions on top which together with the carrots add a lovely sweetness to the dish. You can prepare the dish ahead but it is advisable to add the orzo just before serving as like any other pasta, orzo will continue cooking and absorbing the juices from the food and will become dry.
I took this picture of the leftovers on my mobile, many hours after serving the food to the staff. It’s an awful picture but I just wanted you to see the result. You can still eat it when cold and it still tastes delicious but when it is warm it is even better.
Brown Lentils with Carrots, Orzo and Caramelized Onions
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: about 30 – 40 minutes
- 200 grams brown lentils
- 1 bay leaf
- Water to cover them
- 3 small carrots coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
- 600 ml water
- 400 grams fresh tomatoes grated or the same amount of tinned tomatoes, pureed in a food processor
- Salt and freshly grated black pepper
- 1 cup medium orzo (195 grams)
Caramelized onions: Ingredients:
- 4 red onions, cut into slices
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- A pinch of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon petimezi (grape syrup or molasses)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet and sauté the onions, stirring regularly for about 15 minutes. When they lightly start to brown remove half of them and set aside.
- Season the remaining with salt and pepper. Add the balsamic vinegar and petimezi (grape syrup) and stir until the juices are absorbed and the onions become caramelized (total time about 30 – 40 minutes).
- Simultaneously put the lentils and bay leaf in a pot and add water to cover them. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Strain and discard the bay leaf.
- Put them back in the pot, together with the grated tomato and grated carrots and water. Bring to a boil and simmer until lentils are almost cooked (about 30 minutes). Add the lightly browned onion and continue cooking for fifteen more minutes. (If we started cooking early, at this point we can stop cooking until it is lunch time. All we have to do is to bring it back to a boil again).
- Add orzo and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes, stirring regularly until all juices are absorbed.
- Serve with the caramelized onions on top.
You can find many more Greek recipes in my cookbook “More Than A Greek Salad”, and “Mint, Cinnamon & Blossom Water, Flavours of Cyprus, Kopiaste!” both available on all Amazon stores.
Other relevant recipes:
Lentils with Orzo and Pasto
Coconut, Red Lentils Soup
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,