Friday, January 10, 2020

M'jeddrah--or Jacob's Mess of Pottage--or Esau's Guile!

I remembered this delicious dish from my farm years, 40 years ago, but lentils didn't fit my current and longtime Paleo/Primal lifestyle--lectins can be bad news.  But recently Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, author of The Paleo Approach, suggested they may be worth reconsidering, for several reasons.

Okay!  Instant reconsideration for me, because I've been jonesing for M'jeddrah for a couple of years!  I found my old recipe again, thanks to a friend, along with several spicier ones from Middle Eastern sites.  We were ON.

(The Middle Eastern recipes call for Avieh, which is a Persian word that simply means "spices," but it refers to a lovely mixture of a variety of spices.  I'm just listing them separately--and I didn't have cardamom but didn't seem to miss it.)

Served with a green salad on top, as well as crisp-fried onions. Half and half, here...

It's a bit beige in the pan, but oh the aroma!

1 cup of lentils, whatever color you prefer--mine were regular brown ones
1 cup of rice (I usually use brown rice, and may cut the amount next time--we normally avoid grains)
1 large onion and 2-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
2-3 T. olive oil
3 cups of water
1 t. salt
black pepper to taste

Ground spices (my own version of Avieh):

1 t. Cumin
2 t. Coriander
1 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. Cardamom
1/2 t. Ginger

1/2 t. Turmeric
1/4 t. Cloves

(Many Avieh recipes often call for dried rose petals, but I'm not a fan and neither is Joseph.  Roses are for admiring and sniffing, at our house!)

Salad greens, whatever you prefer--with tomato, cucumber, radishes, whatever...

Salad Dressing:
   Olive Oil
   Salt and pepper

Or a tart dressing you prefer...we liked Primal Kitchens Green Goddess the first night because I didn't have any lemons!


Soak lentils in water at least 4 hours before cooking.  Pour off soaking water--that removes many of the lectins as well as speeding your cooking time.  (Some people even sprout them for 24 hours or so to increase digestibility and nutritional value, and I may try that next time.)

Gently saute' chopped onions and garlic in olive oil until transparent.

Remove from pan (I used a heavy, deep enameled cast iron chicken fryer), and put the rice in.  Parch, stirring, until it becomes opaque then transparent again.  (This also speeds cooking time.)

Put drained lentils and onions back in the pan with about 3 cups of water.  Some say boiling water, but I didn't see any difference.  Add spices and salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, if you're opting for crisp onions on top, chop more onion and start to frying.

Simmer with a lid for about a half hour or so, until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice and lentils are cooked; keep an eye on the pan.  If lentils stick, add more water.  (The original recipe called for simmering for an hour...I would have had a burned mess!)

Make a salad of greens, cucumber , radishes, tomato, whatever is crisp and cool. Toss with a lemon and olive-oil dressing.

Put a generous dollop in a bowl, top with the salad and crisp onions.  You'll likely want seconds and STILL have leftovers, this is enough for 4 people at least.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

German-style Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

This dish is traditional for some, on New Year's, and although it's not part of our yearly tradition, it was delicious!  We'll be making it again...with tweaks.

The *original recipe is not Paleo/Primal or AIP compliant, and I needed to tweak it quite a here is my version!  (AIP with my successful reintroductions, I mean...eggs, seeds...)

You can add tomato sauce if you wish, and some do, but nightshades are off my plate, it appears!  No problem, we loved it anyway.  You can also serve it with mustard, and use almost any combination of meats.  I used ground beef and ground pork. 


    Cabbage for Rolls:
    1  medium head cabbage
    1 to 2 teaspoons salt
    For the Meaty Filling:
    12 ounces ground beef 
    same of ground pork
    1 large egg
    1/3 cup crushed chiciarrones (our usual substitute for bread crumbs, but if gluten or grain's not a problem for you...)
    1 T. gelatin (optional, but helps make up for the lack of gluten)
    1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I omitted paprika--nightshade!)
    1 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoons dried marjoram
    1 T. maple sugar
    1-2 T. apple cider vinegar
    1 T. Worcestershire sauce (I make the AIP version)
    Black pepper to taste
    1 to 2 strips bacon or 2 T. bacon grease
    2 cups beef or vegetable broth (or your home made bone broth)
    1 jar or can of German style or home made sauerkraut

    For the Sauce:
    1 tablespoon cassava flour

Prepare the Cabbage

Peel old discolored leaves from the outside of the head of cabbage.

Using a sharp knife, cut the core (stem) out of the cabbage, leaving a cone-shaped hole.

Place the cabbage head in a large pot and add a few inches of water, enough to steam it well.  Add a teaspoon or two of salt. Bring the water to a boil, put on a lid, lower the heat, and steam for several minutes.

Let it cool!

Peel the outer leaves off, carefully, trying not to tear them, and drain. You can always return the cabbage to the pot to steam more if the inner leaves don’t want to come apart. 

I actually made one more little roll for a total of 8 in all...

I love my square iron pan for browning...I browned 4 at a time to avoid crowding.

Make the Filling and Form the Rolls 

 While the cabbage water is steaming or cooling, mix the chopped meat with the egg and other ingredients.  Make into 8-10 log shaped rolls (about 1/3 C. mixture for each roll.

Lay out a cabbage leaf as flat as you can and cut out the thickest vein (only 1/3 of the way up the leaf) to make it easier to roll the leaf. Place a meat roll in the thinner portion of the leaf.

Fold the roll on three sides, then roll to the thickest part (like a burrito).

Tie it like a gift package (in quarters) with kitchen string or, in a pinch, regular thread.


Brown the cabbage rolls on two sides in the bacon fat.  Move to Dutch oven or deep pan.

Add sauerkraut (and any leftover vegetables you want...I had some cooked cauliflower and threw it in too.

Add broth (or enough to cover the pan to a depth of 1/2 inch), cover the pan with a lid and simmer 40 to 50 minutes, adding more of the remaining beef broth as necessary.

Transfer the cabbage rolls to a warm serving dish and snip off the string.

Add the cassava flour to the remaining juices in the pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until thickened.

Pour over cabbage rolls. Top with reserved bacon bits, mustard, ketchup, or whatever you desire!

Delicious the next day, too!

* Adapted wildly from
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