My late Lebanese grandfather used to call this rice pilaf ‘convict food’, because it was a cheap way to feed the masses or a growing family of teenagers. It’s a dish that I grew up on, mainly because my very-much-Anglo Dad used to cook it weekly, filling the house with the aromatics of onions cooking in olive oil. I can’t speak as highly for the aromas that one may self-produce a few hours after consuming the dish in large quantities though….
This is my version that I produced in the cooking part of my audition for The Chef’s Line on SBS. While I didn’t get through the final round, my cousin Lynette was successful, and she certainly did our family proud!
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 brown onions
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cup brown lentils
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley
- 6 large dates, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup pinenuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
- 1/4 cup hummus
- Finely slice the onions and add to the olive oil in a frypan over medium heat. Stir until caramelised, then add the cumin and allspice.
- Add the stock, lentils and rice and simmer until the stock is absorbed, stirring frequently to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom (about 20 minutes or so).
- Remove from the heat and top with the hummus, parsley, dates, pine nuts and pomegranate seeds (and if you’re feeling extra fancy, also throw on a dash of pomegranate molasses!).