Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Food and Memory (with a friend's recipe for Adas Polo - Lentil Rice)

I love how the first bite of a meal can bring you right back to a memory of place and people. This past summer, I was lucky to be one of ten artists/art historians living together in Giverny. I had an amazing experience in many ways, and one of my favorites was the opportunity to learn some new recipes and try some new foods.

 My friend, Dominika, who also made the best chicken soup I have ever tasted (sorry, mom!), taught me to make this Iranian dish made with lentils and rice and beef (but it also tastes great without the meat!). I've finally gotten around to making it, and as I ate some with a book in hand, I was instantly transported back to the many intellectual conversations and the lovely peaceful retreat at Giverny.

Here's her recipe (I added in proportions based on what I did):

1-2 small onions, chopped
3/4 lb ground beef
Adiveh (an Iranian spice - or without this, which I didn't have, try 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp tumeric, and 2 tsp freshly grated cinammon)
1 tsp salt
1 small bullion cube (beef, chicken, or vegetable works)
1 cup cooked lentils
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup white basmati rice
1 tsp dried cilantro

1. Cook lentils - 2:1 ratio, water: lentils. Boil for 2-3 minutes, then simmer until soft (c. 30 min for this batch, but it depends on the lentils you use)

 2. In another saucepan, cook rice - 1:1 ratio, rice:water. Add salt and olive oil and cook until it boils, then turn down and let simmer on low for 20-25 minutes.

3. In a frying pan, saute onion until soft.

4. Add ground beef, salt and spices, and cook until well done.

5. Add lentils (if you end up with more than this, save them for something else! they do freeze well) and raisins. I don't usually like raisins in things, but the sweetness of them paired with the salt of the dish is a really nice combination. If you do like raisins, feel free to add in more than 1/2 cup!

6. Serve over rice.

Easy and delicious - this is definitely one for the clean plate club!

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