Around the world Jewish families are preparing for the weeklong holiday of Passover, which begins April 3 and celebrates the flight from Egypt. This is a wonderful time to incorporate international flavors into your cooking as food plays a significant role in the celebration of the holiday.
Whether you celebrate Passover or are just looking to broaden your cultural appetite, here are three traditional dishes ideal for your dinner table during this holiday and throughout the late winter months.
As one of the traditional items on the Seder plate, haroset is a sweet spread to enjoy on crackers, bread and even meats. Haroset recipes tend to vary a bit by region and this recipe, common among Ashkenazi Jews, incorporates crisp, grated apples with salty, chopped walnuts and sweet red wine. These ingredients are held together with cinnamon and honey to top off an easy-to-make, flavorsome condiment that will compliment any meal.
SERVINGS: 3 cups
6 apples – peeled, cored and chopped
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon white sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/3 cup sweet red wine
- Place the chopped apples and walnuts into a large bowl.
- Mix together the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle it over the apples.
- Stir in the honey and sweet wine.
Now the haroset is ready to be served to your guests as an alternative appetizer to cheese and crackers for entertaining or as a hearty addition to your main course. If you prepare the haroset in advance, make sure to refrigerate it until you’re ready to eat.
Jewish Chicken Soup
A staple menu item at delis and cafes is a delicious Jewish chicken soup, also known as matzo ball soup. Matzo is bread made without yeast and is eaten in respect to the Jewish people who fled Egypt with only an unleavened mixture of flour and water to dine on.
This soup is the perfect comfort food for when you’re sick, on a cold day or as an appetizer during Passover. It can be served with the meat or just the broth over the matzo and vegetables to suit your taste. One spoonful of matzo ball soup and you’ll include it in your meal planning for years to come.
1 whole chicken
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
8 carrots, peeled and sliced
1 parsnip, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bunch fresh dill weed, chopped
2 1/2 cups matzo meal
6 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
- Place the chicken into a large pot with the breast side down. Fill with enough cold water to reach about 3 inches from the top of the pot.
- Add the onion, carrot, parsnip, celery and dill. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, and cook, partially covered for 2 hours. Do not let the soup boil.
- Skim any fat from the top of the soup and add the garlic cloves. Partially cover and simmer for another 2 hours for best flavor.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the matzo meal, eggs, oil, salt and 1/4 cup of the broth from the chicken soup. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set up.
- Bring a separate pot of water to a rolling boil. Roll the matzo mixture into about 16 balls. Wet your hands to keep the dough from sticking to them. Drop the balls into boiling water, cover and cook for about 35 minutes.
- While the matzo balls are cooking, strain the broth from the chicken soup. Return the broth to the pot. Remove the bones and skin from the chicken and cut into pieces. Return to the soup, or leave the soup as a broth, and reserve the chicken for other uses.
- Remove the matzo balls from the water and serve in the hot chicken soup.
Ladle a few matzo balls per bowl and make sure this soup is served nice and hot so the matzo absorbs all the flavors of the broth. Keep this recipe handy as your family and friends will be sure to ask for it again.
Old Fashioned Potato Kugel
Kugel is another traditional food of Jewish culture that comes in many variations as a casserole-type entrée that can be made with egg noodles or potatoes. It can be sweet, with raisins or cinnamon, or savory, with a variety of vegetables like cabbage, carrot, zucchini or spinach. This recipe is for an old fashion potato kugel with onions and can be customized with additional veggies if desired. Such a dish that can be served in different variations is sure to please everyone’s palate.
YIELDS: 9”x13” pan
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 potatoes, peeled and grated
2 onions, peeled and grated
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat an oven to 350° F. Grease a 9”x13” pan with 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
- Combine the potatoes and onions in a large bowl. Mix in the eggs, 1/3 cup of vegetable oil, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the top is golden brown and crisp, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Cut the kugel into well-portioned squares to serve warm as an entrée or side dish and enjoy your new favorite casserole with everyone around your table.
International Food Club wishes you and your family a delicious Passover holiday. We hope it is filled with tasty and meaningful meals and rich flavors of the season.
Haroset via All Recipes
Jewish Chicken Soup via All Recipes
Old Fashion Potato Kugel via All Recipes