Dinner, Old Testament Style

January 12, 2010 | 19 comments
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Middle Eastern foods are my favorite. So at the risk of totally overstepping the bounds as a T&S guest blogger, I offer the following to enhance one’s study of the Old Testament and further an appreciation of ancient culture. May you have your meal with gladness and health!

Esau’s Potage

Serves 6-8

6 cups chicken stock

1 cup dried small red lentils, picked over and washed

1/4 cup long grain white rice

2 medium onions, thinly sliced and separated into rings

2 Tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley plus more for garnish

salt to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground sweet paprika

In a 5-quart dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat 4 cups of the chicken stock to boiling. Add lentils and rice and bring to a boil again, then lower the heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add the onions, stir, cover and cook 10 minutes more. Add the remaining chicken stock, parsley, salt, cayenne and paprika. Continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Serve with a garnish of fresh minced parsley and a sprinkle of paprika.

Adapted from The Versatile Grain and the Elegant Bean by Sheryl and Mel London.

Middle Eastern Dinner Rolls

Serves 8

2 1/4 cups water (room temperature or slightly warmer)

2 Tablespoons active dry yeast

3 Tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups all purpose flour (all white or white/whole wheat combination)

Mix really well for about 5 minutes either by hand or in a stand mixer with a dough hook.  Turn dough out onto well-floured board and divide into 12-16 balls. Let rest for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 500º F. With floured hands, flatten balls to about 1/4 inch thick, place on parchment-lined baking sheets (or line with foil sprinkle with corn meal). Let rest 15 minutes. Bake for 10-15 minutes till light brown. Serve hot.

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19 Responses to Dinner, Old Testament Style

  1. Robert Ricks on January 12, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I love mujaddara, Maren! I look forward to trying your pottage recipe.

  2. Nitsav on January 12, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    If you want your pottage to be “authentic” add 5-7 small pebbles to the lentils ;)

  3. Bro. Jones on January 12, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    I’d add at least a teaspoon of cumin to the lentils. Also, what sends mujaddara into the stratosphere is caramelized or fried crunchy onions (in addition to the onions that you boil with the rice and lentils). You can even use those fried onion strings that go with “green bean casserole.” :)

  4. Marc Bohn on January 12, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    In no way overstepping your bounds, and I look forward to giving it a try.

  5. Craig H. on January 12, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Wait, how much is it worth? You left that out. How much for the whole thing, and how much for a mess?

  6. Ardis Parshall on January 12, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    I won’t trade my birthright for it, but I’ll gladly trade whatever else I might have fixed for supper tonight and try this.

    As for the small pebbles, I’ll generously leave them all for Nitsav’s pot. ;)

  7. MarenM on January 12, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    The original recipe calls for one additional onion which is fried in butter and added as garnish. I like it but my kids don’t so I don’t usually bother with that step. Cumin=yummy. The main secret is in the quality of the chicken stock used. Homemade is best, of course, but other kinds will do, too. As for what it’s worth- Craig, you have to make it first and then decide.

  8. Rosalynde Welch on January 12, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I’ve always thought T&S needs more recipes, Maren! Lentils are a favorite around here. Do the small red ones hold their form when prepared, or do they melt into lentil-mush (not necessarily a bad thing!).

  9. MarenM on January 12, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Generally they hold their shape- especially if they are the tiny round ones (called “footballs” in my local Indian foods store) rather than the medium split ones (which are easier to find). But both work pretty well.

  10. Craig H. on January 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Well it looks really good. So I can see what Esau was thinking!

  11. Ardis Parshall on January 12, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    This is SOOOOO good, Maren! I’ve already copied it over into my cookbook to be regular part of my repertoire.

  12. James Olsen on January 12, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Mujaddara is a staple in our family, along with kusharee. It’s one of the only things I can cook well!

  13. Clark on January 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm

    So did Abraham eat falafals? (I love falafals btw)

  14. J. Pete on January 13, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Middle Eastern food is my absolute favorite! What a great article! Thanks for posting. totally gonna try the porridge. Hold the birth right please.

  15. MarenM on January 13, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Ardis: So glad you liked it!
    James Olsen: I would give at least a quarter of my birthright for a good koshari/kusharee recipe. I fell in love with it in Egypt when we lived there. If you have one, would you be willing to email it to me at maren(underscore)mecham(at)yahoo(dot)com? We would be very grateful.

  16. Stephanie on January 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks. I am always looking for good bean and rice recipes. This would be a fun one to make on a Monday night for FHE (followed with the story, of course).

  17. Stephanie on January 17, 2010 at 1:28 am

    Will green lentils work just as well? That’s what I have in my food storage, so I tried to buy red ones today at the store, but all they had is green.

  18. MarenM on January 17, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Probably just fine, though not as attractive a dish. I’m not sure there’s much of a flavor difference.

  19. Karen on January 22, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for this. I made it this week and really enjoyed it.

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