This is so simple with a surprising and delicious flavor. When HusbandMan and I were in college we ate a lot of beans, this was one of those dishes I learned to make from that time. I made it once and then again the next week, we liked it that much.
It's also a dish that isn't tied to one country, but an area where the Mediterranean and the Middle East meet. There are versions of it eaten in Lebanon, Iraq, Cyprus, and Egypt. As well as probably several other countries in the region. Supposedly the term "mujadara" is an Arabic word for pockmark, referring to the look of the lentils.
While it may look like a long time to be cooking, the onions take almost an hour, its not really active time. Once you add the sugar you leave them to cook, just stirring every 10 minutes or if they start to crackle. It also looks like a LOT of onions, and it is, but they cook down quite a bit.
Updated 2018: I don't always bother with the sugar when caramelizing now, it's totally up to you.
And here we have the final, delicious, stage of caramelized onions. So much smaller and sweeter than the start. Totally worth the time. Esp since they take minimal effort.
6 - 8 large onions, sliced
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cumin
2 cloves fresh minced garlic
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 c. brown Lentils
1 c. Rice
1/2 bundle Fresh Parsley, chopped
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions, and cook over low heat until translucent. Add the sugar and continue to cook over low heat until caramelized, about 45 - 60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic to the pan once the onions tart to turn brown to let it caramelize together.
Meanwhile, cook the rice in 4 cups of salted water and simmer until the rice is almost tender. Add the lentils to the pan and simmer an additional 20 minutes until both are soft, checking for enough water.
Toss the lentils with the onions, parsley, and seasonings. Serve with additional fresh parsley on top.