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Brazilian Jeweled Rice and Lentils (Arroz à Grega e Lentilhas)



I am going to start this conversation with a very straight forward question: “Do you want to be as lucky as a Brazilian in the next year?”. Ok, let’s assume that your answer is: “Yes, I absolutely do!”. I am so glad that you have chosen the only right answer to my question!!! So, I am going to tell you exactly what to do – or eat – to achieve such good fortune in the upcoming year.

People might roll their eyes at us, Brazilians, since we have this reputation for being superstitious. But… It doesn’t hurt to try, right?! And in this case, the worst that can happen is that you will end up enjoying some really delicious food over the New Year's Eve – or Réveillon, as we call it.

Traditionally, Lentils and Brazilian Style Jeweled Rice cannot be absent from our New Year's feast – which happens only after midnight (yes, we do not eat until after the new year has made its debut). Both dishes are normally served as sides to proteins such as pork or seafood (no chicken or beef allowed in the occasion). This side dishes are colorful, tasty, and they can be prepared somewhat quickly, although their best feature is to bring good fortune in the upcoming year.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy year! Peace, love, and joy. XO- Cynthia


Brazilian Jeweled Rice and Lentils (Arroz à Grega e Lentilhas)

Serves 8 people

Ingredient for Lentils:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces bacon, cut into a small dice
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 10 cups chicken broth
  • 1-pound lentils
  • salt

Ingredients for Rice:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • 2 cups Jasmine rice
  • Salt
  • 2 ¼ cups water
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely grated (1 cup)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into a very small dice (1 cup)
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint

Method for Lentils:

Add the olive oil to a large pot set over medium-high heat. Once oil is hot, add bacon and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until bacon is crispy; about 5 minutes.

Add onions to pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and soft; 7 to 8 minutes (once the onions start to release moisture, scrape well the bottom of pan to release all bits and pieces).

Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant; about 40 seconds.

Add chicken broth and stir well, scrapping bottom of pan.

Add lentils and allow to come to a light boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and season with salt to taste (I suggest ½ tablespoon). Cover and simmer for 40 to 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt if needed, and serve immediately with the Jeweled Rice.


Method for Jeweled Rice:

Add butter to a medium sauce pan set over medium-high heat. Once butter melts, reduce heat to medium. Add onion and cook, stirring often (being careful to not burn butter), until onion is translucent and soft; 4 to 5 minutes.

Stir in ginger and cook for an additional minute.

Increase heat to medium-high. Add rice and stir well, making sure all grains are well coated. Season with salt (about ½ tablespoon) and stir again.

Add water, stir, and allow it to come to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 10 to 13 minutes, or until water is completely absorbed. Remove from heat and allow rice to rest, covered, for an additional 10 minutes (or up 30 minutes).

Transfer rice to a large bowl and fluff with a fork. Gently fold in carrots, red bell peppers, raisins, and mint. Serve immediately.



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