An extraordinarily hearty, traditional recipe from Lebanon, makhluta is a classic kitchen sink of a bean soup. If you are willing to swallow your pride by opening a few cans, this deeply comforting and filling meal can be prepared with such speed that it will be nearly ready by the time you've sipped the last of your preprandial cocktail after that shell-shocked day wherever it is that you work.
Of course, if you prefer the slow and satisfying ritual of soaking and simmering your dried legumes, you will not be disappointed with the relatively quick cooking method offered by Madelain Farah's recipe below, provided you remember to do your soaking the night before. And while you're at it, a good soaking the night before in a drawn bath does wonders for that shell-shocked day wherever it is that you work.
Makhluta - Adapted from the Beirut Restaurants recipe with additional inspiration from a recipe in Lebanese Cuisine by Madelain Farah (on page 32 in Google preview).
Serves 6 generously.
2 quarts richly flavored and moderately salted vegetable stock
1 cup brown rice (use quick-cooking for faster results)
1/2 cup virgin olive oil
1 very large yellow onion, chopped
2 tablespoons (yes, tablespoons) ground cumin
2 cups cooked and drained lentils
2 cups cooked and drained chickpeas
2 cups cooked and drained black turtle beans
2 cups cooked and drained green lima beans
6 very large Swiss chard leaves, coarsely shredded (remove center ribs if very bulky)
3 cups water
Additional salt to taste
In your very largest pot, Dutch oven, or soup cauldron, heat stock to boiling. Add brown rice. Reduce heat to simmer until rice is tender (up to 45 minutes for regular brown rice; 10 minutes for quick-cooking kind).
In a medium saucepan, warm olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and saute until translucent and golden without burning. Stir in cumin and heat a few more minutes to fragrance and flavor the onion and oil. Remove from heat and stir into stock with cooked rice. Stir in all legumes. Increase heat just to boiling, then reduce to a maintained simmer for 15 minutes.
In the same saucepan which you used for the oil and onion, heat 3 cups water to boiling. Add Swiss chard leaves, continuing to boil until they are limp (about 7 minutes). Stir leaves into legume mixture. If you find the soup too thick (dependent on how fast a simmer, how absorbent the rice, and how soft/starchy the legumes), add enough of the chard water to thin to your preference. Taste and adjust for salt. While wonderful fresh, this soup does reheat well, but will thicken considerably when chilled and idle, like a dense stew. Reconstitute with more water if preferred.
Divya of Dil Se is now hosting MLLA 28. Divya has just returned from abroad and is refreshed and ready to receive your wonderful recipes.
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