When we think of Biblical food, we often think of simple fare: the bread and fish fed to the 5,000, the locusts and wild honey of John the Baptist, or the roasted lamb of the Passover meal. It’s true that the Biblical diet was, for the most part, basic, especially among the poor. But there were gourmet diners in ancient times as well. If you love to cook like I do, try making this gourmet Biblical feast for your friends or family.
Fowl was a common food in ancient Israel. Chicken was known, but usually available only the upper classes. The common people, though, ate dove, partridge, and quail and the recipe below would work for any type of bird.
Garlic and onions were common and heavily used, as were herbs like rosemary. Salt is often referred to both figuratively and litererally in the Bible and was easily obtained from the Dead Sea. Cinnamon, one of the oldest known spices, was well known in the ancient world and worth more than gold.
Honey Garlic Chicken, Biblical Style
Four cleaned and plucked doves, quail, or partidge
OR one medium sized roasting chicken, rinsed and patted dry
One head garlic
Three small onions
Two sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place chicken (or other birds) on a roasting rack in a roasting pan. Break apart garlic head and peel individual cloves. Sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt. Place half of the cloves inside the cavity of the chicken and sprinkle the rest over and around the chicken. Peel and quarter onions. Place half the quarters inside the chicken, half around it. Rinse rosemary sprigs and place one inside the chicken cavity. Generously sprinkle with salt.
Chop the remaining rosemary. Mix together chopped rosemary, honey, olive oil, and cinnamon. Brush half the mixture over the chicken. Put the chicken in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes. Brush with remaining glaze and return to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees in the thickest part of the chicken, about 45 minutes more.
Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.
Salad greens were common in Biblical times. Some were raised in the family garden, others gathered in the wild.
Wild Biblical Salad with Goat Cheese
One bunch arugula and one bunch watercress, rinsed and spun dry
4 ounces goat cheese or feta
Toss greens together, top with goat cheese or feta, a drizzle of olive oil, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Serve the chicken and salad with some warmed pita bread and a glass of red wine and you have a Biblical feast.
Will you be trying this recipe for a family meal or dinner with friends? What kinds of Biblical foods do you and your family enjoy?