Mediterranean Fried Rice

This recipe is from womansday.com, but it is tried and true in the Crank household. I avoid meat these days, but this smelled so good that I gave in and ate it for lunch on the balcony today with Tim.

Yields 4 servings; total time 25 minutes

Ingredients: 1 lemon, 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 1 lb. lean ground beef or lamb, 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, 4 c. cooked long-grain rice (cold leftover rice is best for frying!), 1 tsp. ground cumin, 1/2 tsp. ground coriander, 1 pt. grape or cherry tomatoes – halved, 1/2 seedless cucumber – cut into 1/4″ pieces, 2 scallions – sliced, 1/4 c. fresh mint – roughly chopped (I always leave this out.), crumbled feta cheese, for serving

Directions:

  1. Zest the lemon, then cut lemon in half. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes (spoon off and discard any excess fat). Add the garlic (jar is fine) and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute; toss with the lemon zest. Transfer the beef to a bowl and squeeze the juice of half a lemon on top.
  2. Wash and dry the skillet, then heat remaining tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add the rice and season with the cumin, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until the rice begins to crisp at the edges, about 5 minutes. Fold in the beef mixture and remove from heat.
  3. Meanwhile, squeeze the juice of the remaining lemon half into a medium bow. Toss with the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Fold in the mint (if using) and top with crumbled feta, if desired.
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