KOSHER PASSOVER RECIPES
ROASTED RED PEPPERS IN TOMATO-GARLIC SAUCE
Parve or Dairy.
Yield: 8 servings
- 1 cup (about ½ pound) brown lentils.
- 1¼ pounds onions, thinly sliced (5 cups)
- 4 tbsp well-flavored extra-virgin olive
- 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic
- 1 cup long-grain white rice
- ½ tsp ground cumin
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 large red bell peppers (choose peppers that
are unblemished, sturdy, and thick-walled).
- 4-5 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 3-4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, plus
additional, for garnish (optional).
- 2 tsp chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and
coarsely chopped, or fine-quality Italian canned tomatoes, drained
and coarsely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Optional accompaniments for dairy meals:
Yogurt cream or Labneh, seasoned perhaps with
minced scallions, chives, or other fresh herbs.
- Pick over the lentils carefully, discarding any stray objects or
discolored beans, and rinse well in cold water. Drain, combine
them in a large saucepan with 1 quart of fresh cold water, and
bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Add
salt to taste about 5 minutes before the end of cooking. Turn off
the heat, and leave the lentils in the saucepan, covered, until
you are ready to add the rest of the mujadderah ingredients.
- While the lentils are cooking, in a 10-12 inches heavy skillet,
sauté the onions in 3 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat,
lifting and turning them occasionally, for about 15 minutes,
or until softened. Add the garlic and cook another 15 minutes, or
until the onions are a rich caramel color.
- Add about one-third of the sautéed onion mixture to the cooked
lentils, leaving the remaining onion mixture in the skillet. Stir
the rice, cumin, and plenty of salt and pepper to taste into the
lentils. If necessary, add more water so that everything is
completely covered by about ½ inch of water. Mix the ingredients
well, cover, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes, or
until the rice is tender and all the liquid is absorbed. Peek
every now and then to see if more water is needed, and give the
mixture a stir.
- While the mujadderah cooks, roast the bell peppers. It's best to
do this over a gas flame, since you need to char the outside
quickly, without overcooking the tender flesh. If
cooking over a gas flame, use a long-handled fork and spear the
pepper through the stem only, making sure not to pierce through
the pepper anywhere else. Roast them, like marshmallows, over open
flame. Keep turning the peppers until the skins are lightly
charred on all sides. You can also roast them under
the broiler. Place the peppers on a foil-lined broiler rack under
a preheated broiler, as close as possible to the heat. Turn the
peppers as the skins blister and blacken.
- Put the charred peppers in a paper bag and twist the bag closed.
Or put them in a covered bowl. Let them steam just until cool
enough to handle so that they will be easier to peel. Rub the peel
off with your fingers. Because these peppers are thick-walled, you
can also rub off the peel with a dry paper towel, replacing the
towel as it becomes saturated with the charred peel. Don't worry
if you don't remove every piece of blackened skin - a few bits
here and there will add to the smoky flavor. (Don't peel the
peppers under water, because they will get too waterlogged.)
- Using a small, sharp knife, cut out the peppers' stems and
discard. Carefully pull out the seeds and membranes and discard.
- prepare the tomato-garlic sauce. The success of this quickly made
sauce depends on cooking the ingredients in a skillet, rather than
a saucepan, so the watery juices evaporate before the fresh taste
is lost. In a heavy 9-inch skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil
over medium heat until fragrant and softened - don't let it color
more than pale yellow. Add the tomatoes and salt and pepper to
taste, and turn the heat up to high. Cook, stirring, for 6-10
minutes, until nicely thickened, with a still-vivid tomato taste.
Adjust the seasoning to taste.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Generously salt and pepper the remaining sautéed onions in the
skillet and cook over medium-high heat, lifting and turning, until
slightly crisp in places and tinged a toasty brown. When the rice
and lentils are cooked, stir these onions into them. Then stir in
3 tablespoons of the pine nuts and the cilantro, if using.
- Spoon some of the sauce on the bottom of a shallow baking dish
just large enough to accommodate the peppers when standing
upright. (Alternatively, if peppers tore and you are stuffing the
pepper halves, choose a dish in which all the peppers will fit
comfortably when lying flat.) Fill the peppers with the mujadderah
and sprinkle the tops with the remaining 1-2 pine nuts and garnish
with some additional cilantro, if desired. Arrange the peppers in
the pan and spoon the remaining sauce over them. Bake for about 20
minutes, or until heated through.
The Gefilte Variations by Jayne Cohen