Lebanese cuisine is full of rich, hearty meals that are ideal for a cold winter’s night. New York winters can be bitterly chilly, so I love to whip up traditional Lebanese dishes that fill our stomachs while warming our bodies and hearts. These are often really simple to make, whether you’re Lebanese or not. Here’s one of my favorites– Makhlouta.
Makhlouta is a traditional whole grain stew that’s packed with nutrients and nourishment. It’s made primarily of lentils, potato, pinto beans, whole wheat grains, chickpeas, rice and cracked what, all coming together in a fried onions flavor base.
To make the base, I like to fry the onions in coconut oil instead of standard cooking oil- just to make the dish even healthier.
After you’ve soaked and rinsed the beans, boil the wheat in 12 cups of water for 20 minutes. Then add the chickpeas and boil for another 20 minutes. You can then throw in the pinto beans for another 20 minutes of boiling. This should allow the individual ingredients the correct amount of cooking time.
As the beans boil, mince two onions and fry them in three tablespoons of the oil of your choice for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You can then peel and chop up your potato into small cubes.
Then rinse and strain the rice and lentils, and add them to your bean and wheat mixture, which should still be boiling. Throw the onions and potatoes into the pot too, along with some olive oil and salt, mix it all up and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring every now and again.
After half an hour your makhlouta stew should be ready to go- with all the beans and grains soft and delicious.
This dish is perfect for winter evenings and hearty lunches, the whole grains make it filling and nourishing, while the lentils provide some protein to power you through your day. Enjoy!