Time: 4 hours
While a dish that takes a while to make, you will fall for this recipe in a large way. It is bursting with flavour and is not only delicious, it is very healthy! Mujadara is normally a vegetarian dish, so you can also make it without the beef ribs, but we think that they pair well. I hope you fall for this as much as we did!
Music Selection: Colbie Caillat – Fallin’ For You
For the Short Ribs:
5 pounds boneless short ribs, trimmed
1¾ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
4½ cups water, divided
1 large yellow onion, cut into large wedges
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
½ head fennel, cut into large wedges
5 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon fennel seed
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon orange zest (½ orange)
For the Caramelized Onions:
3 tablespoons canola oil
5 cups thinly sliced yellow onion (2 large yellow onions)
For the Mujadara:
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
4¾ cups water, divided
⅓ cup freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
1 tablespoon orange zest (½ orange)
1 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Pinch ground cardamom
Pinch ground allspice
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup long-grain white rice, washed and rinsed
¼ cup thinly sliced scallions
Handful mint, sliced thin
Optional: crumbled goat cheese
Preheat the oven to 350°. Season the short ribs evenly with 1¾ teaspoons of salt. Working in 2 batches, heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil over medium-high heat in a large pot (I use a dutch oven). When the oil is hot, add half of the short ribs and brown on all sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer the short ribs to a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the rendered short rib fat into a small bowl and set aside. Deglaze the saucepan with ¼ cup of water and pour over the short ribs. Repeat with the remaining canola oil and short ribs.
Wipe the saucepan clean and return to medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, fennel and garlic cloves, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the spices and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Pour the vegetables into the baking dish with the ribs, add the orange zest and pour the remaining water over. Cover and cook in the preheated oven until the short ribs are tender, 2½ to 3 hours. When done, remove ribs and strain/keep au jus.
While the short ribs are cooking, make the caramelized onions: In a large, wide Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat, add the canola oil and rendered short rib fat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until golden brown and caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and transfer half of the caramelized onions to a paper towel-lined plate. Season with salt.
Make the mujadara: To the remaining caramelized onions, add the lentils, 3 cups of the water, orange juice and zest, cardamom and allspice. Place star anise, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf into cheese cloth and make a bouquet garnis. Add to pot. Season with ½ teaspoon of salt, then raise the heat and bring to a boil. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender and most of the water has absorbed, 35 to 40 minutes.
When the lentils are ready, add the rice peas and remaining 1½ cups of water. Cover and simmer until the rice is done, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes, before removing the lid and fluffing with a fork. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Makes about 6 cups mujadara.
To plate, spoon a good helping of lentils/rice into a bowl or pasta bowl. Add some reserved caramelized onion. Place a short rib on top and some of the beef au jus. Garnish with fresh scallions, mint and goat cheese.