Lentil-Rice Pilaf from the Dodecanese
This Greek recipe for lentil-rice pilaf comes from Halki, an island in the southern Dodecanese. The combination of legumes, especially lentils, and pasta or rice is very popular int his part of Greece. There are dozens of slightly different versions of this dish, with rice, bulgur, and fresh and dried pasta.
Place lentils in a colander and rinse well under cold running water. In a large, wide pot, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and sauté the lentils for 2 to 3 minutes to coat well. Add the tomatoes and stir. Pour in the water. Cover and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Season to taste with salt. Reduce heat to low and simmer the lentils for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until al dente.
Stir in the rice. Bring the mixture back to a boil over high heat, reduce and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and hearty. Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper. Add more water if needed to keep the mixture moist.
In the meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a nonstick skillet and cook the onions over low heat until deep golden, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove and mix into the cooked lentil-rice mixture. Serve.