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Richard Kilgore

Jewish Chick Pea and Lentil recipes circa 100 CE?

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Greetings!

 

I have been asked to do a green bean casserole for a men's group dinner at church. Thankfully not the dreaded mushroom soup and canned fried onion sort. The rationale, however,  for the idea of a green bean dish is to serve something similar to what Christians in the early church would have eaten. Green beans being New World this would have required quite a miracle. Therefore, I am in search of, preferably, a Jewish dish from that era using Chick Peas and/or lentils. Otherwise a recipe using one or both from anywhere in the Middle East/Mediterranean. 

 

Would appreciate any and all suggestions.

 

Thanks,

 

Richard

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I suspect that at that time they still would be eating something akin to what was described in Genesis 25 -- "red broth," "lentil soup" (or "pottage," which is a long-cooked stew) -- possibly with some mutton for flavoring, along with whatever vegetables were available at the moment. I'd just improvise and not worry about a recipe; I'm sure the folks back then didn't.

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I'd go with mujadara. (Lentils, rice, onions.) There are hundreds of recipes. The best ones (IMO) have tons of onions. It's not a Jewish dish at all, but there are versions of it in just about every Arab cuisine and it's very common in Israel as well. Lentils, as Alex mentioned above, are very "Old Testament." It was presumably a bowl of lentils for which Esau sold his birthright in Genesis.

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How about fava beans or lupines?  (Note that lupines are quite toxic unless prepared properly.  They should not be served, so I have read, to children.)

 

I would not be surprised if early Christians were eating pretty much what their Greek, Roman, or Persian neighbors were eating, perhaps with some restrictions:

 

The Classical Cookbook

 

I enjoyed this book immensely.

 

 

And don't forget the early Christians in India and Ethiopia.

 

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There is a Sephardic dish called koshary - very similar to mujadara - of lentils cooked with lots of fried onions and some cumin and served over rice - garnished with crisp fried onions and served with yogurt. Fava beans are another good choice - they have been used since very ancient times. 

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Fava beans might be an accurate choice but as someone who loathes even the smell of favas, I'd vote for lentils!  Not everyone loves lentils, but I don't think the smell of lentils brings up the gag reflex...:)

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All sorts of legumes (lentils, chickpeas, fava) would have bean common. Dishes should include both grains or breads (likely similar to pita, but obviously using less refined grains). Meat centric dishes will be reserved for festive occlusions, with meat being used only in small amounts for flavoring or not at all. There was likely plentiful usage of herbs and spices, similar to sage, rosemary, thyme, oregano would all be very common. Gentle herbs and leaves such as coriander, dill and spinach is also common. Olive oil was of vital importance and used commonly.

Vegetables, mostly roots such as carrots, onion, garlic, fennel, and various squashes and cucumbers.

 

Mujadara is a lovely idea, and although it is not common to do so, I think that green beans will be a welcome addition.

Bulgur, and whole cooked grains such as spelt or wheat berries will be a good and quite authentic base for your meal.

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Love lentils and make them often.   I often make a lentil salad with fine diced peppers and onions and pulled together with a vinaigrette.    Mujadara is an excellent choice.  If you want to go with chickpeas my mom would make a chickpea and acini de pepe dish, keskesoon, when we were kids. The pasta is browned lightly in oil and added to a cooking broth of tomato sauce, water, butter and onions to cook until done.  Essentially a thin tomato sauce.  The cooked  chickpeas are added to the pasta and sauce.   Doing a little search I found a couple of recipes.  My recipe appears a little different with the addition of tomato sauce.   Eats well at room temp

 

http://www.thekosherfoodies.com/grandma-sally-keskesoon/

https://books.google.com/books?id=tEeFDw6tE5cC&pg=PA168&lpg=PA168&dq=acini+pepe+pasta+and+garbanzo+beans&source=bl&ots=RAk0MM6dvL&sig=AI33D22bC6gDpAqv-nyyV1MA5kg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjj3NbMkIDLAhWIdx4KHUYjDp8Q6AEIJDAD#v=onepage&q=acini%20pepe%20pasta%20and%20garbanzo%20beans&f=false

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Marcella Hazan occasionally references Italian dishes with origins from Jewish cuisine.  One example is chickpeas and spinach w/ olive oil and lemon from Marcella's Italian Kitchen.  I don't know how old the recipe is, but it's tasty and as simple as its name.

 

In case you're interested, she also highly recommends a cookbook on the subject, The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews: by Edda Servi Machlin. 

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Edda Servi Machlin's cookbooks are excellent.

 

I want to remind everyone that tomatoes are an American plant, so any tomatoes or tomato sauce would be anachronistic for a recipe from outside of the Americas before the conquistadores.


Edited by Pan (log)
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Thanks to everyone for all the interesting and helpful ideas. I will try many of them over time.

 

For this Passover dinner, I decided to do a chick pea and lentil stew with lots of fried onions and two types of lentils. cooked for several hours so the lentils broke down. Used dried oregano early on, adjusted salt half way through and added lemon juice and Aleppo pepper a couple of times in the last hour or so and then before putting out on the buffet, more Aleppo. On the buffet added more lemmon juice and scattered dill leaves liberally on the surface. Cooked and served in a large Columbian black clay pot. 

 

It got raves, so thanks again.

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Just recently had a two-night stopover in Addis Ababa where we ate a lot of really interesting things made with chick peas and lentils, along with their ubiquitous injera flatbread. The food seemed to me to have really ancient roots - and Ethiopia shares more than a little history with the Jews. They trace their royalty to the union of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. I think hunting down some Ethiopian recipes - shiro, is one dish we ate (spicy chick peas) - would get you pretty close to what you're looking for. It's also incredibly delicious.

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