and not to be hidden in the comments section! Thanks to Fr. Gregori for some really good sounding middle eastern recipes! As I was commenting to dh last Sunday night after our visit to a large Antiochian parish for the Sunday of Orthodoxy Vespers...their lenten food is so much better, more advanced, than our paltry American efforts. Here it is:
Here are some Lebanese Lentil Recipes for Lent:
These dishes were enjoyed by my family during Lent when I grew up as a Lebanese Melkite Byzantine Catholic:
Mjadra – (Lentil Pottage)
1 cup uncooked lentils
4 cups water
1 large onion, chopped
½ cup olive oil
1/8 t. pepper
1/8 t. cumin
salt to taste
½ cup uncooked rice
Rinse lentils and place in a pan with water. Boil for 20 minutes on medium fire. Sauté chopped onions in oil. Add onions and residue, seasonings, and rice to the lentils. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Serve on a platter – this thickens as it cools. May be eaten hot or cold. Serves 4-6.
Mihshi Waraq – (Lenten Stuffed Grape Leaves)
The Grape Leaves can be purchased in jars at Middle Eastern or Greek food stores:
40-50 grape leaves
1 ½ cups of parsley, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked rice
2 large tomatoes, peeled
½ bunch green onions
1 small onion
½ cup lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Finely chop all vegetables except the grape leaves and mix well with the uncooked rice. Place a heaping tablespoon of this mixture on a grape leaf and roll up, make sure the ends of the grape leaves are folded in to secure the filling. Continue until all mixture and grape leaves are used. Arrange the rolls in a pan for cooking. Barely cover the rolls with water. Sprinkle about a tablespoon of salt over the top. Cover the pan and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Add the ½ cup of lemon juice and cook for another 10 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.
These can be eaten hot or cold, served with laban as a dip.
Laban – (Laban is a Yogurt dip for the Mihshi Waraq)
1 cup plain yogurt
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
1 Tablespoon dried mint, or 3-4 fresh mint leaves with stems
1 Tablespoon salt
margarine or butter
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Mash garlic, mint and salt. Sauté in the margarine or butter. Set aside. Dissolve the cornstarch in one cup of water. Pour in the yogurt and mix well. Place the yogurt and cornstarch mixture into a sauce pan and cook on medium heat stirring constantly. Bring to a boil. Then add the sautéed garlic, mint mixture to the yogurt and mix well.
Place this mixture into individual dipping bowls and serve with the Mihshi Waraq. This will serve 4-6.