Lentil-Pasta Pilaf with Spices and Dried Fruit

Lentil-Pasta Terrine with Cumin and Prunes


Here is a twist on a very old and traditional Greek dish. Lentils are cooked with pasta, bulgur or rice in the Greek country kitchen. This dish is spruced up with a tiny Greek pasta called kouskousi, and spiced with prunes or other dried fruit, cumin and more.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups small lentils
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¾ cup Greek koukousi or small orzo pasta
  • ½ cup extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ cup chopped or julienned fresh mint leaves
  • 6 large pitted prunes, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic reduction or balsamic syrup for serving*
  • * To make the balsamic reduction place 1 cup of balsamic in a small saucepan together with ½ cup sugar. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer over low heat until the liquid is reduced by at least half and is the consistency of syrup. Keep in a small jar in a cool, dry place.

Instructions

  1. Place the lentils in a medium size pot with enough water to cover by at least two inches and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 – 25 minutes, or until the lentils are tender but al dente.
  2. While the lentils are boiling, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium, nonstick skillet and sauté the onions until soft and lightly caramelized, about 12 – 15 minutes. Add the garlic and spices to the onions, and stir for half a minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. Drain the lentils. Toss the lentils, pasta, onion-garlic-spice mixture, mint and prunes together in a mixing bowl. Add the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving. To serve, press into a ring mold or cup and invert onto individual plates. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction and serve.
Go to my online Greek specialty food shop for a range of traditional and artisanal delicacies from all over Greece.

Share it if you like it!