Dinner Rush! Dirty Lentils + Rice with a Fried Egg
Dirty rice is a Low Country classic that usually features sausage, chicken livers and the holy trinity (onion, green bell pepper and celery) simmered together with long-grain rice. In a time of year when there’s plenty of other rib-stickin’ heartiness with every meal, lighten things up just a bit by taking a classic like this and making it vegetarian.
Swapping the meat for lentils and a fried egg is an easy way to make sure that those accustomed to classic dirty rice are still satisfied with this quick weeknight version. Using hearty flavorings like oregano and cumin gets the job done, too, along with a helping hand from some cayenne (feel free to add a bit more if you’re a fanatic for spicy foods).
Best bonus of all: A lighter dinner makes that cookie plate just a little less off-limits.
In a medium pot combine the rice and 1 3/4 cups stock. Place the pot over high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and steam the rice until the liquid has absorbed, 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, fluff the rice with a fork and reserve.
While the rice is cooking, place a large saute pan over medium-high heat with the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, dried herbs and spices to the pan and cook until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the lentils and remaining stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring the liquid up to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the lentils have softened, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the cooked rice and continue cooking to blend the flavors, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons of parsley and about 3 green onions, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper.
While the rice and lentils cook together, fry the eggs. Place a large saute pan over medium heat with the butter. Add the eggs, season with salt and pepper, and cook, flipping once, until the whites have just set, about 3 minutes total.
Serve the dirty lentils and rice topped with a fried egg. Garnish with the remaining parsley and scallion and a few dashes of hot sauce.
Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he’s now the Digital Content Manager for FoodNetwork.com, CookingChannelTV.com and Food.com in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram or visiting his website at patrickwdecker.com.