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Lentils, bulgur/rice/quinoa, olive oil, and onions—this Middle Eastern standard is the ultimate weeknight recipe. There are literally dozens of recipes for mujadara out there—each country, possibly even each family, seems to have its own version. I have spiced up my version with the addition of several spices, which is not part of the traditional recipe, but I love spices. The crispy onion topping is the best part, so go ahead and make a lot.

To remove the pomegranate seeds from the fruit, the best method I have come across is to cut the pomegranate in two, then using a rolling pin, hit the back of the fruit to loosen the seeds and catch them in a bowl.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

3 chicken breasts, boneless, skinless (optional)
250 g / 1 cup dry, green lentils (preferably lentils du Puy)
3 cups water
250 g / 1 cup bulgur
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cardamon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Seeds of 1 pomegranate, for garnish
Cilantro, fresh and roughly chopped, for garnish

Preparation:

In a medium pot, combine the lentils and water
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover, and simmer until still firm and almost done, about 15 minutes
Add the bulgur wheat, cover, and cook over very low heat until the bulgur is tender and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes, adding more water if the bulgur seems dry
Add salt and mix lightly

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat
Add the sliced onions and cook, stirring frequently, until golden, about 15 minutes
Add the cumin, cardamon, cinnamon, marjoram, black pepper,  and cook, stirring, for 1 minute
Add the lentil and bulgur  mixture and stir well to combine
Remove from the heat
If adding chicken:
Heat a little oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat
Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until cooked, but still juicy
Set aside to cool slightly then shred the pieces and add to the lentils and bulgur mixture

Serve either hot or at room temperature,topped with the chopped cilantro and the pomegranate seeds, and some fresh pita bread
Enjoy!

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