We took this recipe from an old issue of The American Weekly Housewife's Food Almanac. It was sent into them by the son-in-law of missionaries in Morocco, North Africa and among the Arabs. The dish is probably H e brew in origin for it is the main dish throughout North Africa and Arabia.
They keep the pot on the fire throwing in with the lentils whatever vegetables they have in season, with chunks of goat meat or mutton, but never, never any pork. The "pottage" is warmed up as many times as necessary until it is all eaten. It has been found that the taste improves with time and reheating. In this respect as well as in its contents there is a great similarity between this dish and Tcholent which is baked. Perhaps there is some common origin between them.
This is supposed to be the dish for which Esau sold his birthright, called in the Bible a "Mess of Pottage," and "Pottage of Lentils" (Genesis 25:34), so you can see that the dish is at least 3,500 years old. Purists may question the fact that tomato juice was used as a cooking ingredient some 3,500 years ago. It probably wasn't and the same probably applies to some of the other ingredients mentioned in the recipe. Yet the basic dish without the modern additions might well have been the original Biblical Pottage.
1 lb. lentils 1 lb. meat (hamburger, or beef
6 to 10 onions veal, or mutton stewing meat)
3 C. tomato juice 1/4 lb. suet or any other fat
1 - 2 carrots, or other 2 t.salt
vegetables in season 1/3 t. red pepper
as parsnip, parsley, 1/4 t. black pepper
root, celery, or green pepper
Wash the lentils thoroughly. Soaking 2 or 3 hours will hasten the cooking. Place lentils in any kettle that will hold five or six quarts; add tomato juice, onions and other vegetables, cut or chopped fine. Add a little water if necessary, but it will seldom be necessary to add more than one cup. Make half of the hamburger into small balls. Fry the other half of the hamburger and the suet in the pan "loose" with the balls, season and empty into the kettle with the lentils, gravy and all. If stewing meat is used, cut it into small pieces and fry with suet or shortening, emptying meat and gravy in with the lentils when nearly done. Add the salt and pepper, varying the amounts according to taste. Stir occasionally. Simmer or boil gently until the lentils are done, usually about an hour, or an hour and a half if the lentils were not soaked or if they were very dry. This amount will serve 6 to 8.