Prep time: 20 mins | Cooking time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Mejadra (or Mujadarra) is a dish eaten widely all over the Levant, and commonly seen at Sukkot because of its seasonality, its “jewelled” nature, and for the simple practical reason that it could be easily transported in a single pot from the kitchen to the Sukkah! Fragrant spiced rice with lentils and onions, its symbolism can be elevated still futher by stuffing the mejadra inside sweet peppers. To complete this show-stopping one-pot dish, we pack our stuffed peppers around a whole chicken rubbed with an aromatic baharat spice mix, allowing the delicious spiced juices to infuse the peppers and rice with layers of flavour as they cook.
For the peppers
- 8 long Peppers
- 2 Brown Onions, finely diced and lightly salted
- 2 cups of Basmati Rice (washed and drained)
- ½ cup Brown Lentils
- (washed and drained)
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- ½ tsp Ground Cumin
- ¼ tsp Ground Corriander
- 1/8 tsp of Cinnamon
- 2 tbsp Oil
- Salt & Pepper
For the chicken
- Whole Chicken
- 2 Lemons
- 2 Onions,
- ribboned and salted
- 2 tbsp Oil
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 2½ tbsp Baharat
- Spice Blend
- 1 tbsp Honey
- 5-7 cloves of Garlic
- 100ml Water
- Preheat your oven to 200°C / 180°C fan (Gas Mark 6 / 400°F)
- Add 2 tbsp oil and 2 diced brown onions to a pan and cook over a medium heat, stiring occasionally until brown, around 15 minutes.
- Add thoroughly washed and drained rice and lentils plus all the spices, mix together and stir constantly for 2 minutes to coat the rice and lentil mixture. The rice will turn yellow.
- Add a few twists of black pepper and sprinkle over ½ tsp salt. Stir once more then set aside.
- Remove tops, deseed and thoroughly wash 6 long red (romano peppers).
- Carefully spoon mejadra mix into peppers, quite loosely, around around ¾ full to allow room for the rice to expand.
- In an oven proof dish combine the remaining oil with the ribboned onion placing on the bottom of the dish.
- Layer your filled peppers on top of the onions, then place your whole chicken on top.
- Into a small bowl, juice 2 lemons and put the flesh into the cavity of the bird.
- To the juice, add black pepper, baharat spice blend and honey, then mix together well.
- Pour over the chicken, and add 100ml water and 5-7 garlic cloves to the dish.
- Seal tightly with baking paper then foil.
- Cook covered for 90 minutes, then uncover and cook for a further 20-30 minutes until the chicken skin is golden brown and the juices are running clear.
(Image by Yaffa Judah)