A Pot of Jacob's Guile

This was submitted by Harriet W. Hanlon
Reference: Woman's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery, Volume 7. (See Genesis 25: verses 29-34 where Esau gives Jacob his birthright for this "mess of pottage") Note: This main meal dish is the "Mac and Cheese" in all homes from Greece to India. In Lebanon, it is pronounced Medje-Rah and spelled mjeddrah. Recipe feeds 6.


INGREDIENTS
2 Creddish brown lentils (avoid French gray lentils)
2 Conions, not finely chopped
1 1/2 Tbspbutter (do not substitute margarine)
1/4 Colive oil
3/4 Clong-grain rice
2 teassalt
saladDried mint leaves, romaine, spinach, and other greens of your choice.
dressing3 parts olive oil
-2 parts lemon juice
-1 Tbsp Paprika
-generous pinches of sugar, dry mustard, and garlic salt


STEPS
1. In the morning, put the lentils in cold water to soak.
2. An hour before you will serve this dish, drain the water from the lentils (You will be cooking the lentils, onions, and rice concurrently.)
3. Put the drained lentils in 4 cups of cold water with one teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
4. Heat olive oil, onions, and one teaspoon of salt in a pot with cover and cook very slowly until the onions are soft and yellow.
5. Parch the long-grain rice in butter (i.e. until rice loses the translucence acquired from the butter and becomes white again).
6. Add rice and onions to lentils with enough hot water to complete cooking the rice (but adding more than 1 1/2 cups of hot water could cause lentils and rice to get mushy).
7. Before serving mjeddrah, you will add dressing to the salad, sprinkle it with dried mint leaves (if available) and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes. Then serve the cold salad on top of Mjeddrah with Syrian bread or hard rolls.
8. The hot and cold contrast and the texture contrast is wonderful. Goat-milk cheese and black olives go well with this meal as does dry red wine.