An interesting tradition some families follow is to include food that relates to the Torah reading of the week at the Shabbat meal. You may remember the post where I featured foods to represent the ten plagues (https://layacrust.wordpress.com/2018/01/18/parsha-foods/). Or for Joseph’s dreams you could make cookies in the shape of the sun, moon , and stars.
This week’s parsha, “Toldot”, tells the story of Isaac and Rebecca and their twin sons Esau and Jacob. According to the text Esau had been out hunting. Naturally he was tired when he came home. When he noticed that Jacob had been cooking lentil stew he said, “Give me now some of that red, red stuff.” (Genesis 25:30). Instead of just giving his brother a bowl of the red lentil stew Jacob traded the food for his brother’s birthright. The stew must have smelled amazing. Here is a recipe for you to try this Shabbat.
I always wondered about that mystical lentil stew. It must have been filling, it probably smelled wonderful, and it would have been red. I found a recipe which fit the bill. One note of interest- this recipe doesn’t call for red lentils. Red lentils turn yellow when they cook. Instead this recipe calls for brown lentils. Yes, the stew does end up red. Here we have a nice collection of lentils, vegetables and 10 (!) spices. Beware, the spices are pretty intense!
The aroma of the sauteeing carrots and onions with fresh ginger and garlic is amazing and the addition of 10 exotic spices makes the aroma even more pungent. The tomatoes and lentils are added next.
If you are having a dairy meal you can garnish the lentil stew with yogurt and fresh coriander or parsley.
Spicy Red Lentil Stew
1 cup brown lentils
2 cups water
2 onions, diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. ginger, minced or grated
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 fresh, chopped tomatoes or a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 cup water or vegetable broth
2 tsp. cumin 2 tsp. Hungarian paprika
1 tsp. turmeric 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 tsp. dried thyme 1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cloves 1/8 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/8 tsp. ground allspice 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
Boil the lentils in the 2 c. of water for about 45 minutes, until they are tender.
In another pot, over medium heat, saute the onions and carrots for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and spice blend. Saute 5 more minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste and the cup of water/ vegetable broth. Simmer until bubbling.
Yield: 4 large servings.
Let us hope for calm and peace throughout the world.
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