Friday, October 21, 2011

Syrian Rishtah

So I have yet another cookbook checked out of the library.  (OK, so I have 3 or 4 out)  But one in particular I really like.  It is called 366 Delicious ways to cook Rice, Beans, and Grains (unfortunately my Amazon product finder is not working so no cute little picture.)  Anyway, it if full of tons of ideas for cooking grains and beans (imagine that.)  Not a great book if you are looking for something with tons of pretty pictures, but as a resource for new ideas I'm loving it.  Now if I can just find a place around here that sells amaranth I'll have a bunch of new recipes to try.  :)
Last night's dinner and this morning's breakfast both came from this book, and I have tons more with little pieces of paper sticking out to try.  I've already put them in my menu for then next few weeks.  I'll start with last night's dinner.  I chose this because I've had good luck with lentils in the past, and I thought the combination of spices (cumin, allspice, and coriander) sounded interesting.  It turned out really good.  I loved the flavor.  I thought the sauce ended making the noodles a bit grainy, but I used regular green lentils rather than the French lentils called for (couldn't find those)  I think this problem could be solved by 2 things if using the green lentils - 1 cook them a little less time originally, and 2 not adding the cooking water, but fresh water or more stock.  Definitely what I would try next time.  I'd make this again, and actually sent the left overs to school with my 5 year old, so I can't have been that bad if he was willing to eat left overs.  :)
This is how I made it.  (Adapted a bit from the original in the book.)


  • 1/2 cup dried French green lentils, rinsed (I used regular, see above)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 small (or 1 large) onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I used the dehydrated minces, the fresh garlic I have has been particularly spicy lately and I didn't want the dish ruined by pungent garlic I actually sauteed onion and garlic but it was so strong smelling that I started over and used the minces)
  • 1 can (15-16 oz.) petite diced tomatoes (undrained)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (could also use vegetable to keep it vegetarian.  I just had chicken in the fridge that was already opened)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional - I left this out because of the kiddos but served them on the side for DH)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 lb fettuccine noodles
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine lentils and water.  Bring to a boil.  REduce heat and simmer, covered until lentils are just tender but still retain their shape (25 min - maybe a bit less next time for regular green lentils -see above)  Set aside but do not drain.
  2. In another saucepan, heat butter over medium heat.  Add onions (and garlic if using fresh) saute until onions are golden (about 10 minutes.)  Add garlic minces towards the end of the 10 minutes if using dried.
  3. Add the lentils, cooking liquid, tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, cumin, allspice, soriander, red pepper flakes (if using) salt and pepper.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and toss with the lentil mixture.  (I made 1 lb of noodles but didn't use all of them.  I used most of them, but not all - didn't want the pasta to be too dry.)

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