Monday, August 03, 2009

Majaddara, Esau's Pottage

Research shows that Esau's pottage may have been what is known as Majaddara, a rice and lentil dish that is cooked with olive oil, onions, and flavorings. Lentils are a favorite in the Middle East and today Majaddara is a staple in the Lebanese and Palestinian diet, both in the Middle East and in America. Once considered a poor man's food, this dish is now favored as a high protein, health food by many Americans. Delicious either hot or cold, it is considered a staple of many. According to Internet sources, Jews from Syria and Egypt traditionally ate this dish twice a week, served hot on Thursday evening and cold on Sunday.

This afternoon I was looking for 'something new' to prepare for supper. When I found this recipe, I thought it sounded simple and tasty. My family likes lentils, and this was a new way to prepare them. We were not disappointed! The richness of the olive oil and sweet onions used in preparation of this dish gave it much depth of flavor. Because this was the first time we'd had this dish, I went with the 'plain' version (seasoned with sea salt). Other recipes add about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon allspice to a recipe with the general amounts that I used (posted below). Although the color of this lentil and rice dish is somewhat boring and bland, don't be fooled! It is rich in flavor and so very savory. Our family gives it a "10" and will be adopting it as a regular dish for family meals.

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