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.

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