Kusherie: You really don’t need to eat dead animals…….

One of my boys (my young men?) has asked for this recipe several times.  I’m glad you like it, Aaron, it was always one of my favorites, also.  I really don’t have any philosophical reason to avoid meat — I just don’t like it.  I think vegetarian meals, including protein from legumes and grains, is a lot more healthful.  A good resource on this are the books, Diet for a Small Planet, by Frances Moore Lappe, and its companion, Recipes for a Small Planet, by Ellen Buchwald.  I really like this approach.  And, of course, More With Less is an excellent source of common-sense recipes for those who want to eat responsibly, for their own health as well as for the good of others.

So we ate a lot of beans when I was growing up.  My mom always served navy beans, slow cooked with ham hocks, onion and bay leaf. Just like the chili, we added a dash of vinegar, and lots of ground black pepper, and hot cornbread.  Mom was mildly amused when, after she had been in the hospital for a couple of weeks, Dad proudly said that he had “discovered a great way to cook beans: you just soak them overnight, and then cook them at a really low temperature for about 3 hours! ” To Mom, it was sort of like reinventing the wheel.  I continued the tradition while raising a family of eight children.  I remember being a little embarrassed when one of the boys’ friends walked in the house, sniffed and said, “Hmmm your mom’s cooking beans again.”  I don’t think he wanted to stay for supper that night. Lentils are a more convenient legume to serve, as they do not require soaking.  Brown lentils look a little “homely”, so if you can get red lentils at the City Market, they look a little better.  Kusherie is a recipe straight out of More With Less, and is subtitled Egyptian Rice and Lentils.  If you have trouble with raw onions, ask hubby to slice them.

Kusherie

Heat in a skillet:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Add:

  • 1 1/4 cup dry lentils

Brown lentils over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Add:

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • dash pepper

Cook uncovered 10 minutes over medium heat.

Stir in:

  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 1 cup boiling water

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 24 minutes without stirring.

In another saucepan, heat together:

  • 3/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 cups tomato juice or tomato sauce
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

Simmer for 20 minutes

For the Onions, in a skillet heat:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 onions, sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Cook these gently til soft and slightly brown.

To serve, put the rice and lentil mixture on a platter.  Pour the tomato sauce over and top with onions.  Serve with a nice spinach salad.

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