Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Lamb Alive - Parshat Toldot

Happy Blog-a-versary to Double Portion!

It's been a year and I'm still here. Last year when the weekly portion of Parshat Toldot rolled around I rolled out this blog with a kicking lentil soup. Over the year I've covered nearly every portion in the Torah and found a complimentary recipe or two to share with you.

And now I'm back for more. While I am starting my work on the cookbook, I've decided to try to keep posting here. That decision is based on encouragement from you, the fact that there are foods in the text that I have not yet covered, and that there are many recipes that I'm still itching to share with you.

Let's dive into the weekly portion by giving props to our matriarch Rebecca. Not only is she a great cook, she also produced two sons who knew their way around a kitchen. The portion includes the story of her son Esav selling his birthright to his brother Jacob for a pot of stew Jacob was simmering (as we covered last year). Later on Isaac asks his son Esav to go hunt him some game and prepare it for him in the way that he loves before he blesses him. So both sons can whip up a satisfying meal.

As can Rebecca, who employs her cooking skills for a higher purpose. She's determined that her son Jacob receive both the blessings his father intended for him and for his brother. She dresses Jacob in sheepskins to resemble his hairier brother Esav and prepares some lamb, bread and wine for him to serve to Isaac and seal the deal.

The meal satiates Isaac and he blesses Jacob with Esav's blessing to prosper off of the land. Lucky for Jacob he also gets the blessing originally intended for him - to inherit the land promised to Abraham and Isaac and to continue the nation. So Jacob ends up with both the physical and spiritual blessings, enabling him to be a very well rounded forefather.

I have got a great recipe for chulent to share with you that is made with lamb. My mom made up this recipe and when I asked her where she came up with it she told me "well I like lamb, and I like chulent." Genius. It makes a really comforting winter meal and goes very well with a thick slice of challah and a glass of red wine.

It was my mom's birthday in mid October and while we feted her from afar I failed to congratulate her on this blog - a tradition I upheld for other family members over the last year. So now here is a belated happy birthday to her. My mom is one of my most favorite people to be with - she's upbeat, always talking, fun and creative. Kind of how I like to describe myself. I get some of my best qualities from my mom. And some of my best recipes!

Lamb Chulent

2-3 onions chopped
2 potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
2 chopped carrots
1 lb lamb stew meat
3/4 cup barley
3/4 cup of dried white navy beans
1/2 cup of dried chickpeas
1 tsp salt
2 tbs onion soup mix
6 cloves of garlic, peeled

Place chopped onions, potatoes and carrots at bottom of slow cooker. Trim as much fat as possible from the lamb (otherwise the dish will taste too fatty) and then add that to the slow cooker. Cover with the beans, chickpeas and barley. Sprinkle with the salt, onion soup mix and garlic. Cover all the ingredients with water - make sure the water is at least 1 inch above the ingredients since the barley will absorb a lot of water. Set the slow cooker on low for 8 -20 hours and serve warm.

*Wedding Photography by Cynthia DelConte


  1. I clicked over here to read your newest post, and I just had to scroll down to look at this last photo here, again. Holy double portions, Elisha, your parents are gorgeous. And what is your mother holding there, chard? Kale? I love everything about that picture. Also, when we were in Brooklyn a few weekends back, my friend, Stephanie, made chulent with lamb, and it was really quite good.

  2. I'm so glad you love on of MY all-time-favorite pictures of my parents. Try to spot it in our home next time you're over. I do think it's chard she's got there.

    Glad you had someone else make you lamb chulent - those kind of winter meals always taste great when someone else feeds them to you.