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Nuevo: La Fe Ortodoxo Cristiana

Rice, Bulgur & Combination Dishes


Father Antonio’s Favorite Rice


This rice is Caribbean style – not sticky like Asian-style cooked rice.  It’s what we serve at home, and frequently, as Father grew up on rice and still loves it! The larger quantity recipe is just right for our family of five.  We simply call this making a “pot of 3 – 5”!


Recipe for Larger Quantity: 

3 Cups White Rice

5 Cups Water

1 Tsp. Salt

1 - 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (on oil-legal days)


Recipe for a Smaller Quantity:

2 Cups White Rice

3 Cups Water

Less than 1 Tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil (on oil-legal days)


In a heavy pan with a good, tight lid, bring the water to a rapid boil.  Add salt and oil.  Stir in rice. Turn burner down to a moderate boil.  Leave pot uncovered. When rice has absorbed most of the water and grains are visible above the water line, cover the pot and turn the burner down to low or a simmer.  Allow to cook for 30 minutes to 1 hour.  It’s actually “done” after cooking for a half an hour, but if allowed to simmer longer, the rice develops a crunchy crust on the bottom of the pan. This crusty rice is highly desirable and is considered to be a real treat to folks from the Caribbean.  In the Dominican Republic, this is called, “con-con.” In Puerto Rico, it is called, “peg..            and in Cuba, “   .


Yellow Rice Variation:  To Make Caribbean Style Yellow Rice, gently heat approximately ½ Cup of Olive Oil in a cast iron or heavy skillet.  To this, add 3 Tbsp. of Achiote Seed (the seeds from the Bixa tree, sometimes also called Annatto).  Stir this constantly and allow the color of the reddish orange seeds to extract into the oil, being careful not to scorch the achiote in the process.  When blending has occurred, turn off the burner and allow the oil to cool. Strain out the annatto seeds and store the oil in a small jar.  This is ready to use.  The remainder can be stored in a tightly-lidded glass jar in the refrigerator.  To make Yellow Rice, follow directions above.  Rather than the plain olive oil, use the Achiote Oil, and in a slightly larger quantity.  The rice will end up being a lovely orange-yellow, with a particularly delightful flavor. Annatto was the natural ingredient formerly used to color butter.  It is extremely high in vitamin A (carotenes).


Middle Eastern Rice, Barley & Lentil Casserole


This recipe is a wonderful and hearty vegetarian dish, perfect for those Lenten season potlucks and for an after the Liturgy of Pre-Sanctified Gifts supper.


1 T. Olive Oil, Optional

1 Small Onion, finely chopped

2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, minced

1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1 Tsp. Sugar

1/2 C. Dried Lentils

1/2 C. Pearled Barley

1/2 C. Long-Grain Rice

1/4 C. Dried Apricots, Chopped

1/2 C. Raisins (golden sultanas)

1-1/2 Tsp. Dried or 1 Tbsp. Fresh Mint

Salt & Pepper to taste


Heat Olive Oil in a medium-large saucepan. When hot, add onion and garlic; sauté 2 min.

Onions can be sautéed in oil or water instead of oil during the fast.  Stir in cinnamon and sugar.  Add 4 Cups of water. Add lentils and barley. Cover and simmer gently for 20 min.


Add rice, apricots, raisins, and mint. Stir ingredients together, cover the pot again, and simmer 20 more min or until all the ingredients are tender and have absorbed the liquid. Add pepper, to taste. Serve with toasted pita bread. Serves 6-8


Persian Rice Pilaf


During the fast, this is yummy with some bean or lentil dish on the side. However, when not fasting, this recipe was created to be the perfect accompaniment to Persian Honey Baked Chicken.  Try them some autumn evening, with baked sweet potatoes on the side.


4 – 5 Cups Cooked (or use leftover) White or Brown Rice (or a Wild-Rice Mixture)

¾ C. Golden Raisins

1 C. Frozen Oranges Juice, Undiluted

¼ C. Fresh Parsley, Chopped

½ Tsp. Orange Peel Zest

1 Tsp. Salt (or to taste)

Black Pepper, Freshly Ground, to taste (Optional)

¼ C. Almonds, Slivered & Toasted


Allow the raisins to soften or plump up in a bit of the orange juice, briefly heated in the microwave in a covered Pyrex-type cup.  Stir all ingredients into the rice, reserving the slivered almonds and 1 Tbsp. of the chopped parsley.  Put into a lightly olive-oiled baking pan..  Add to this approximately 2 cups of the liquid generated from the marinade and baking of the Persian Honey Baked Chicken (pg__).  Top the rice mixture with the reserved parsley and almonds.  Bake in a 350 F. oven (along with the chicken dish) for approximately 20 minutes, until well-heated.


Papa’s Green Rice


Another good one from Kathy Moran of San Antonio’s Saint Anthony the Great OCA Parish!  Of this recipe, she explains, “Papa is my step-dad, Don Watt, and that's what the grandkids call him.  He is a published novelist and teaches Creative Writing at Trinity University in San Antonio.  He is a marvelous cook.  My mom is quite fortunate.  The recipe is probably improvised from another.  My kids request the rice all the time.  For Christmas one year, I made Spinach Enchiladas with Papa's Green Rice.  It was a nice change.”

2 TBS. olive oil

1 cup white rice (Texmati preferred)

¼ cup chopped white onion

¼ cup chopped green onion

1 small can of chopped green chilies

1 large clove garlic

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. ground cumin

1 ¾ cup chicken or vegetable stock

1 ½ cup shredded queso-Chihuahua – or Soy substitute during fast

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

fresh cilantro sprig


Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Heat oil in large skillet.  Add rice, stirring constantly until rice turns opaque (2 minutes). Quickly add white onion.  Sauté over medium heat for one minute.  Add chilies, green onion, garlic, salt, and cumin.  Sauté for 20 seconds.  Add stock and mix well.  Heat over high heat until boiling.  Reduce heat to low.  Simmer covered until rice is almost tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove skillet from heat.  Add one cup cheese and cilantro.  Toss lightly to mix.  Transfer to baking dish.  Top with remainder of cheese and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.  Garnish with a fresh sprig of cilantro. Option: Kathy often adds an extra can of chilies and doubles the spices and garlic.


Lenten Spanish Rice


The following recipe was shared with us by our youngest daughter’s godmother, Kathy Downer, of St. Mary of Egypt Church in Atlanta, Georgia.  It can be served as a main or a side dish and is excellent, either way!  Serve with vegetarian beans on the side.

2 Cups (Ground Beef substitute (soy). (Kathy likes the “Morning Star” Brand Griller Crumbles, found in the frozen foods section, usually by the frozen breakfast foods)
1 1/2  C. Onion, Chopped
2 – 3 Cloves Fresh Garlic , Minced
1/4  C. Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
1  Tbsp. Corn/Vegetable Oil
1  C. Rice, pre-cooked
4 1/2  C. Canned Tomatoes (Mexican Style w/Green Chili’s can be used)
1 1/2  Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Chili Powder, or to taste
1/2  C. Salsa {any brand works great}
1/2  C. Black Olives, Chopped or Sliced
1/2  C. Mushrooms, Sliced
1 C. Cheese Substitute [soy], such as ”Veggie Shreds” Brand, Cheddar Flavor, by Galaxy Nutritional Foods (Usually for sale near the tofu, vegetables & fruit in the produce section.}

Sauté the ground beef substitute, onions, garlic and bell pepper in the oil until the vegetables are tender.  Add the rice, tomatoes, salt, chili powder and salsa.  Simmer
10 minutes.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients. Put into an ovenproof baking dish, cover and bake for 75 minutes at 350 F.


To Stretch the Casserole: For a larger family, Church event or crowd, add more cooked rice and/or drained whole kernel corn. Adjust the quantities of salsa and tomatoes, and add some extra cheese to help blend the flavor if you expand the recipe.


Rice Pilaf with Fresh Herbs & Citrus


Although this recipe could be used during most any time of the year, we especially like it on fish days during fasting seasons.  One year, we made this and brought it to Church for our Palm Sunday feast after Liturgy. It went perfectly with baked salmon, salad and other vegetable dishes.  Plus, it can be left in the oven to slowly bake all during the church services.


2 Lg. Onions, Chopped

4-6 Cloves Garlic, Sliced

¼ C. Olive Oil

½ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced

½ C. Fresh Cilantro, Minced

¼ C. Fresh Dill Leaves

2-3 Tbsps. All or Any Combination of the Following Fresh Herbs, Rinsed & Minced:

     Rosemary, Basil, Oregano

3 C. White Rice

1 C. Wild Rice

1 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

1 Tsp. Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste

5 C. Vegetable Stock or Broth

¼ - ½ C. Piñon Nuts or Blanched, Sliced Almonds

1/3 C. Fresh Lime, Lemon or Sour Orange Juice


Sauté onion and then add garlic to olive oil. When onions are browned, add parsley, cilantro and other fresh herbs. Stir briefly. Add white and wild rice. Stir again briefly, then add vegetable broth, salt, pepper and cinnamon.  Stir in citrus juice and nuts. Carefully oil a large, glass (3 Qt.) Pyrex-type baking dish. Add rice mixture. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 325 – 350 F. for an hour or two. 


Cristianas y Moros


A Dominican Republic recipe which originated in Spain, thus bearing the “Christians and Moors” title, this is a simple and delicious protein combination of white rice and black beans, well seasoned & cooked together. It is the Caribbean’s match for Louisiana style Red Beans and Rice.


Saute onions and garlic, to taste, in a bit of oil.  Add black beans (canned), a bit of oregano, water or vegetable stock, salt and rice.  Cook together, with lid on.


Dolmadas – Middle Eastern Rice Stuffed Grape Leaves (Made Without Meat)


Stuffed grape leaves are one of the finest delicacies which originated in much of the traditionally Orthodox world. Most countries have their own special name and version. Although their preparation is not difficult, they do take considerable time to prepare. Therefore, even though my daughters love to make these, it is always a special treat when we actually get a batch of these made up at our home.  Normally, we prepared them in the vegan manner, without meat.  They are also good with meat, but in our opinion, adding it is unnecessary.  This is our favorite recipe for rice-stuffed dolmadas.  Several of our Lebanese parishioners grow and harvest their own grape leaves for using in this way. See directions for doing so on page __.


2 C. Onions, Minced

1 Tsp. Salt

1 C. Rice

3/4 C. Olive or Vegetable Oil

3 C. Scallions, Minced (including the greens)

6 – 8 Tbsps. Lemon Juice

½ C. Fresh Parsley, Minced, Reserve the stems

½ C. Fresh Dill Weed, Chopped, Reserve the stems

¼ C. Fresh Mint, Minced, Reserve the stems (Or, 2 Tbsps. Dried Mint)

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 (12 Oz.) Jar Grape Leaves (Or, home harvested, frozen – see pg _)


Sauté the onion and salt in a bit of the oil for 5 – 10 minutes.  Increase the heat and add the rice, ½ C. of the oil, the scallions and 2 Tbsps. of Lemon Juice.  Sauté for 2 minutes. Add parsley, dill, mint, salt and pepper.  Sauté for an additional 4 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  Rinse the (brined) grape leaves gently under cool water. Remove the thick stem portions. Place 1 Tbsp. of filling on the underside of each leaf.  Starting at the base, fold over, and roll in the sides of the grape leaf, rolling tightly towards the pointed tip, rather like rolling a burrito.  Place the reserved parsley, mint and dill stems on the bottom of the pan. As dolmas are rolled up, stack them in arranged layers on top of the herb stems. After the pot is filled (filling and grape leaves uses up), pour the remaining oil and lemon juice over the top of the dolmas.   Weigh the stuffed grape leaves down with a heavy plate to keep them from opening.  Cover with boiling mild, vegetable (or other) stock or water, to the level of the plate.  Bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove the plate and sprinkle 3 more Tbsps. fresh lemon juice over them.  Let the dolmades cool completely in the pot. Move them to a serving platter. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges.  These are even better when made a day in advance!  Yield:  Approximately 3 Dozen


Variation Made With Meat:  Brown ground beef or lamb or a combination of these along with the onion.  Proceed as directed above.


Kusa Mihshi or Koosa Bi Laham (Lebanese Rice Stuffed Summer Squash)


This is the Lebanese recipe for stuffed summer squash with meat which comes from Norma Hodge, Antoinette Shwery and Janet Waisner, fondly known as, “The Ladies” at St. George’s.  An equally delicious vegetarian (fasting) version follows. 


8 – 12 Med. Sized Fresh Summer Squash: Light Green Zucchini, Regular or Mexican Zucchini, Yellow Squash, etc.


Was, stem and core out the center of each squash, being careful not to puncture the skin walls and leaving a rather thick edging of about ½”.  Reserve the cores or pulp which as been removed.  The Lebanese use a special tool, in Arabic called a, “man’a’rah” to do this. But, I usually use an apple corer plus a sharp paring knife.  After the squash has been prepared, place it in a bath of cool water in which 1 Tbsp. Dried Mint and 1 Tbsp. Salt has been added.  Set this aside and allow it to soak while you prepare the stuffing. Mix together with your hands until well blended the following stuffing ingredients:


2 C. Raw White Rice

1 Lb. Raw Ground Meat, Lean

¼ Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

1 – 2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, Minced or Pressed, Optional

Approx. 4 Oz. Tomato Sauce

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Drain and pat dry the squash.  Stuff each squash loosely, leaving the ends about 1” empty as the rice will expand.  Sauté 1 Sliced Onion in a bit of Olive Oil.  Place this in the bottom of a large pot which has a tight lid. On top of the onion, arrange the reserved squash cores or pulp (this will keep the stuffed squash from sticking to the bottom of the pan, as well as adding flavor and nutrients). Arrange the stuffed squash in layers on top of the onion and squash pulp.  Cover them with a mixture of tomato sauce (a can of diced tomatoes could be added, if desired) and either water or broth.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook for about 30 – 45 minutes, until the squash is tender and the rice is done.


Lenten/Vegetarian & Other Variations:  To the above recipe (with meat), one can also add to the stuffing ingredients Minced Onion or Scallions, Diced Roma Tomatoes, Minced Fresh Parsley, Fresh Mint (Or dried, as in a mint tea bag) and more Lemon Juice. IF it is a fasting day or you simply wish to prepare this as a vegetarian dish, don’t use meat. Rather, add all of the above mentioned vegetables to the stuffing.  If it is an “Oil” day, add several Tbsps. of Olive Oil as well.  Additionally, when making this dish “vegetarian” the squash is traditionally cooked in a stock (vegetable) rather than in tomato sauce, as for the meat version.


Lebanese Stuffed Tomatoes (Banadoora Mahshi) or Variations w/Lenten Rice Stuffing (Hashwi Bedoun Laham) or w/Lenten Bulgur Stuffing (Hashwi bi Burghul)


6 Lg. Tomatoes (Or 1 Per Person to be Served)

3 Tbsp. Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

½ C. Piñon Nuts (Pine Nuts)

1 Lg. Onion, Finely Chopped or ½ C. Scallions, Finely Chopped

½ C. Fresh Parsley, Finely Chopped

1 ½ C. Rice, Uncooked   Or  2 C. Bulgur (Coarse Cracked Wheat)

1 Tsp. Salt

¼ Tsp. Freshly Ground Black Pepper

¼ - ½ Tsp. Ground Cinnamon

2 Tbsp. Fresh Mint or 1 Tbsp. Dry (Mint Tea Bags work just fine!)

½ C. Lemon Juice

Pulp & Juice from Cored Tomatoes

If Vegetarian/Lenten:  1 Can Garbanzo Beans, Undrained

If with Meat: 1 lb. Ground Lamb or Beef (or a combination)


Stem, make a 1” opening and hollow out the pulp of 1 Tomato per person to be served. Reserve the pulp as it is added to the filling.  Heat the oil in a heavy skillet.  Add the onion and pine nuts and sauté briefly. If meat is to be used, add it now and cook until it changes color slightly but is not fully cooked.  Remove from heat.  If Lenten/Vegetarian, add garbanzo beans and their liquid.  Add uncooked rice or bulgur (burghul). Mix together all additional ingredients until thoroughly blended.  Stuff the tomatoes and place them in a Pyrex-type baking dish.  Pour any remaining liquid over the top and fill the bottom of the pan with a bit of stock, either meat or vegetarian. Cover the pan with tightly-sealed aluminum foil. Bake the stuffed tomatoes at 400 F. for approximately 1 hour, until the rice or bulgur is done. The same filling can be used as a stuffing for Green Peppers or Potatoes, or for Squash, as previously described. For Peppers: Remove their stem, seeds and core.  For Ppotatoes: Peel and core, leaving a ½” wall.  The same stuffing can also be rolled into Swiss Chard Leaves, Cabbage or Grape Leaves and then cooked steamed in a broth, in the usual manner.


Lebanese Rice with Orzo (Pasta)


This wonderful Lebanese dish can be served as a side dish, or used as a bed over which other dishes can be ladled, such as the delicious Shourabit Djaj mah Hommous.   This is St. George parishioner Antoinette Shwery’s special version.


2 C. White Rice

1 C. Orzo (Lengua or Melon Seed Pasta)

3 – 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Tsp. Salt, or more to taste

4 C. Water

1 Tbsp. Margarine or Butter


Brown the pasta in the olive oil in a heavy pan.  When just brown, add the rice, salt, butter and water.  Stir ingredients in, then allow liquid to absorb, undisturbed. Cover the rice and lower the heat. Let cook until the rice is done.  A rice cooker or steamer can also be used for this recipe.  Just brown the pasta in a skillet first, and add it to the remaining ingredients in the rice cooker.   


Middle-Eastern Style Lentils & Rice or Bulgur & Rice w/Caramelized Onions

(Megadarra or Mejaddarah or Masafi or Mujadra bel Burghal)


This dish and its many variations originated in the Middle East and is much treasured on tables in Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Palestine and elsewhere. This is the dish reportedly so favored by the Biblical Esau.  Although considered the “food of the poor” it is also a great favorite! It has also become a special Lenten (oil day!) treat in our household.  Try it and you’ll find out why!  It’s one of the few ways my children actually enjoy eating lentils. The dish can be served warm or cold, or as an appetizer or snack.  When served outside of fasting periods, it is normally accompanied by (drained & salted) yogurt.


3 Lg. Onions, thinly sliced

½ C. Olive Oil

3 C. Lentils

3 C. Rice

OR: 3 C. Bulgur

8 C. Water

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 Tsp. Ground Cumin or Ground Allspice, Optional/Variations

1 Tsp. Ground Coriander, Optional/Variation

½ Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes, to taste, Optional/Variation

1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste, Optional/Variation

2 Tsp. Dried Mint, Optional/Variation


Soak lentils in cold water for several hours.  Cook onions in olive oil until they are browned and caramelized.  Remove some of the caramelized onions from the pot and reserve them for serving time.  Add water to the onions and oil. Bring to a boil. Add the lentil and cook for 20 minutes.  Add the rice or bulgur, salt and pepper and spices.  Cook until water has somewhat evaporated, then cover the pot and simmer until both the lentils and the rice or bulgur are tender.  Serve topped with more of the caramelized onions, and with a garnish of minced fresh parsley or fresh mint.  Another version of this dish uses Red Lentils, which tend to disintegrate rather easily. It is called “Masafi” and is turned into a puree after it has been cooked.



¡Gloria a Dios por todo!
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