Muceddere (Brown Lentil Pilaf with Caramelized Onions)

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  • 1 1/2 cups large brown lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 5 tablespoons high-heat oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup long-grain rice, washed and rinsed
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes


Rinse and drain lentils and place in a large saucepan. Add water to cover by about 2 inches. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes on low heat until lentils are tender but not mushy. Drain thoroughly.

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a skillet over medium-low heat, add onions and cover with a lid. Cook onions until browned and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add cinnamon to caramelized onions.

In a Dutch oven or heavy pan, heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil and add rice. Sauté rice with 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper and allspice, then mix in the drained lentils. Season with black pepper. Pour in 1 cup water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Tip rice mixture into a large serving bowl and sprinkle with caramelized onions; garnish with parsley and red pepper flakes.

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