Catholic Recipe: Lehi Lentils
One of the most renowned foods in the Bible, and what might be called one of the most expensive, is lentils. I say "expensive," because Esau sold his birthright for- bread and lentil soup. "So he swore to him and sold his birthright to-Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentils." (Genesis 25:33-34)
A low price indeed for a man's inheritance and rights. But at least he dined well nutritionally. The food value of lentils compares favorably with sirloin steak. Lentils provide more protein and less fat. They definitely have more calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine and riboflavin. They also contain vitamin A and vitamin C which do not appear in sirloin at all.
Archaeologists frequently come across the remains of lentils in excavations in the Near East so we know they have been eaten for thousands of years in that part of the world. They are referred to in ancient Sumerian cuneiform texts and were one of the crops cultivated by this ancient civilization in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley before the year 2,000 B.C.
Since lentils prosper on poor soil, they are raised all over the Holy Land. Soon after the wheat harvest in June they are reaped and threshed much like wheat. A tasty bread can be made from lentils, barley and other grains, as outlined in Ezekiel 4:9: ". . Take wheat and barley, beans and lentils, millet and spelt, and put them into a single vessel and make bread of them."
The red pottage that Jacob gave Esau (Genesis 25:30) is a particular variety of lentil. It is not actually red, but more, of a reddish-chocolate in color when boiled. People in the Near East frequently call anything "red" that is a yellow brown.
Wash lentils. Put in pot, cover with water and bring to boil for 5 minutes. Set aside to soak for an hour. Drain and put in a kettle with 1 1/2 quarts of water and the meat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are semi-tender. Add chopped vegetables and let simmer until they are tender. Add butter and seasoning to taste.