Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Gophers and Lentils

Before the Internet and its food blogging and food porn and recipe search engines and immediate access to someone else's grandmother's secret ingredient or technique for Toll House cookies, we had Gopher. It was the mid-nineties and my computer screen blinked a vivid black background and gold type as I poured over thousands of recipes posted to the server. I still don't know where those recipes came from. Computers were mysterious and magical, and like a child in her first catechism class I felt it best not to question unless my faith was tested. I copied interesting recipes by hand (the dot matrix printer took too long to bother with).

Somewhere in my piles of cookbooks are those ancient recipes and notes including a full page titled Jamaican Rice and Beans, but I haven't seen it recently. This recipe is close to what I remember: simple flavors and just enough heat to feel substantial. Eat it hot off the stove, or room temp/chilled as a salad.

Note: I am not an Archer Farms (Target Corporation's food label) consumer, but there was such a run on dried legumes this weekend (seriously, I went to three different stores and everyone was out of lentils! Do we take this as a sign that folks are eating healthier?) that I ended up purchasing Archer Farms All Natural Black Beluga Lentils. The package contains cooked lentils that are pretty, tasty, and precooked. I'll buy them again. (When I Googled this product I found at least four other food blogs with similar introduction: I don't usually shop at Target, but this product is great!)

Brown Rice and Black Beluga Lentils
1 cup brown rice
8-ounce package Archer Farms All Natural Black Beluga Lentils
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced fine
3 cloves garlic, diced
1/4 cup peanuts, chopped
1 ounce raisins
Bunch of cilantro, chiffonade
Chicken broth
Salt and pepper

Use strainer to rinse rice in cold water until water runs clear. Place in pot and add 2 cups cold water or chicken broth. Bring to boil, cover, and simmer on very low until rice is completely cooked, about 45 to 55 minutes.

Heat large saute pan to medium high. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and saute pepper, onion, and jalapeno until just tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Stir in rice and lentils. Add enough chicken broth to moisten. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in peanuts, raisins, and cilantro just before serving.

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