This recipe was inspired by my friend George's recipe for Middle Eastern Jhedra (lentils and rice).
DH had gone to our Saturday Farmer's Market and came home with "heirloom baking tomatoes". We take turns going to our Saturday Farmer's Market - especially when I have to work...bless his heart. I had never heard of these type of tomatoes before, but they have very little seeds and juice inside, in fact, they almost look like a pepper - with a similar firm texture. See how pretty?
I was not really sure how this recipe was going to turn out, but just kind of went with what ingredients I had. It was a winner! In fact my dtr. arrived (she does not like lentils) and she loved this dish. This recipe would also be good with large Roma Tomatoes, or various kinds of Peppers. It also offers a number of different recipe options worth trying: stuffed chicken salad, stuffed spiced ground lamb, beef or sausage, or what about shrimp and avocado? This is giving me ideas for down the road - yum!
I have now made this recipe twice - once with an added diced roma tomato, and once without. Both are good. The Lentil/Rice mixture makes quite a lot, there was still a bowl full leftover which tastes great the next day - even cold it is yummy, served along side with a salad.
I made a couple of modifications to George's Jehdra recipe so will do a recap here:
4 cups water
1 cup brown lentils
just under 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. curry powder
1 bay leaf
salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
1/2 cup basmati rice
reserved juice from tomatoes
1 roma tomato finely diced - optional
1 rounded tsp. fresh minced rosemary
1 big handful of finely minced fresh basil
113 grms. roasted garlic chevrai goat cheese
5 baking tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, seeds removed
In a medium sized pot, bring the water to a boil, add the lentils and bay leaf. Turn down to a medium low simmer for 10 minutes - lid off. After 10 minutes, cover with a lid and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the oil to a cast iron frying pan, low to medium heat. Saute the onions and garlic until soft, then add the curry powder, rosemary, salt and pepper. Saute for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
Then add the rice to the onion mixture, and saute stirring for 1 -2 minutes. Transfer the rice onion mixture to the pot of lentils and (if using the diced roma tomato add to the pot) cook on a low simmer, lid on for another 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and rice and lentils are tender.
Remove from heat, and remove the bay leaf. Add in the fresh basil, stirring well to combine. Check for salt and pepper and set aside.
Slice the tomatoes in half, and scoop out any seeds into a bowl. Add the reserved juice/seeds to the lentil rice mixture - stirring to combine.
Add a generous scoop of the lentil/rice mixture to each tomato, then top with crumbled goat cheese.
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. Serve right away with any other vegetables or a fresh salad.