SURPRISE!

Can Lentil Soup Really Taste This Good?

The first mention of lentil stew in the Bible is in Genesis 25:27-34, especially 34 in the story of Esau selling Jacob his birthright for a bowl of soup! They had to really know how to make soup!

The Lord often provides me with surprise blessings when I’m seeking something else. Many times I’m so focused on what we’re praying for, I don’t pause long enough to give thanks for these extra expressions of love and care He gives.

It was like that a few weeks ago. While researching a children’s chapter book set in first century Israel, the Lord provided the opportunity to go to the Biblical History Center in LaGrange, GA. Since I was having trouble finding enough references to children’s lives in that time period, I saw this as a not to be missed opportunity. That is exactly what it turned out to be, but God had a special bonus surprise I have loved. 

As a part of our tour, we enjoyed a first century seder meal. The whole meal was delicious, but all the ladies on the trip agreed that the lentil soup was the standout dish and the one we all wanted to make at home. However, the gift shop didn’t have a recipe book for sale and we were frustrated by the only blot on our day. Our guide told us a book with that recipe was for sale on the square in LaGrange. The tour took too long for us to stop on the way home to look, but one of our number has a sister living in LaGrange. She got the book for my friend who loaned it to me. You can also be the beneficiaries of that loan.

I had been trying to copy the lentil soup we had that day using recipes on the internet, but even with adding the “secret” ingredient our guide told us about, I wasn’t coming very close. When I saw the recipe in my friend’s book, I saw some vital differences. Most are in the preparation. Now my lentil soup is almost as good as what we had that day and I would like to share it with you because it is healthy, high protein, and inexpensive. It’s easy to make and has become a favorite at our house. Also, blessings should be shared as it’s a way we can show our gratitude. This season, resolve to notice your surprise blessings and give thanks.

If you would like to try this delicious, easy piece of ancient Israel (with a couple of modern modifications), it is now printed below. If you like it, please let me know. Also, if you discover a way to make it even more delicious, let us all know! The more we share, the better the soup will be.

Ancient Lentil Soup Recipe

1 lb. lentils (any color)

3 large carrots

2 large onions

3 bay leaves

3 ribs celery or 2 tsp. celery seeds

3 cloves garlic

1-3 tsp. original Mrs. Dash seasoning* (I use 2)

¼ cup olive oil

chicken stock/broth

1-2 tsp. Salt (to taste)

Cover the lentils in stock or broth and let them soak for about 2 hours in a crock pot. Cut all the vegetables into small pieces and saute in the olive oil until tender. Add vegetables to the lentils. Add more broth or water, depending on how robust you want your soup, until everything is covered. A crock pot will be almost full. Cook on high until the lentils are tender, but still slightly firm (NOT mushy). This will insure the best flavor. It’s still fine mushy, but just a more muted flavor. In a crock pot, this will take 1-2 hours. If you’re in a hurry, it can be cooked on the stove top, but will have to be watched closer. It takes about 30 minutes on the stove top. Taste the lentils occasionally until they are barely cooked and the soup is ready. 

When the lentils are cooked, mash the soup with a potato masher if you’re a purist, or put in a blender or food processor to make a puree. Add chopped parsley and/or celery leaves as a garnish when you want to be fancy. Personally, I prefer to eat it just the way it’s cooked without blending (as you can tell from the picture), but the history center served it to us pureed.

*Mrs. Dash, of course, isn’t an authentic first century blend, but it’s what the cook at the history center used the day we were there (we asked!). We know the first century cooks would have flavored their soup with the spices at hand because the Bible mentions various spices in many places.

*Mrs. Dash, of course, isn’t an authentic first century blend, but it’s what the cook at the history center used the day we were there (we asked!). We know the first century cooks would have flavored their soup with the spices at hand because the Bible mentions various spices in many places.

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