Recipe: Sleek!

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May 3, 2012 by marieelia

This is one of my favorite recipes, and I make it about twice a month. If you don’t count salt & oil, there are five ingredients. Five!

There are lots of ways to make this traditional Lebanese dish. The basic ingredients are kale (and/or chard), black-eyed peas, onions, and bulgar wheat. Some recipes call for fenugreek, fennel, coriander, or other spices. Some recipes call for lemon and/or spring onions; some don’t.

My recipe substitutes millet (or quinoa) for bulgar:

– One medium sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
– One bunch of lacinato kale (or another kind of kale; I am partial to lacinato)
– Half cup of millet (or quinoa — red quinoa makes this dish very pretty)
– Two cups of cooked black-eyed peas (or one 15 oz.can)
– One tsp coriander
– Salt, to taste

Start by cooking the millet/quinoa (2:1 ratio, water to millet/quinoa). I like to make double the amount and save half for breakfast. You do what you do.

Next cook the onions. You can cook them in oil or butter. I think that nothing works better for onions than butter in a cast-iron skillet, but I’ve made a vegan version using olive oil. The key here is to carmelize the onions — or at least cook them for a long time, for at least 25 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Keep the heat low. Low and long is the way to go with these.

In the mean time, cut or tear up your kale. I remove the toughest parts of the stems at the bottom but leave some of the softer stems at top.

When your onions are sweet and brown, add the beans, and let them soak up the onion-y goodness for a few minutes.

Add your kale. My technique here is to dump the kale on top and then cover, letting the steam soften the kale so it’s easier to incorporate into the mixture. So, after a few minutes of steaming, uncover and mix together. Add your salt here.

Last, incorporate the millet and add the coriander. (It works without the coriander, too.)

The best thing is that sleek is good hot or cold, in my opinion. This makes great leftovers for lunch.


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