Passover officially begins today at sunset and will continue until next Monday, April 25. I may not be observing passover this week, and I may not be attending a Sedar dinner, but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the makings of a good meal. So I took it upon myself to find some delicious recipes for you to make this passover, whether you’re cooking for your own Sedar or you don’t want to show up empty handed to one.
Sephardic Chicken Soup with Sofrito and Herbed Matzo Balls
Recipe: foodnetwork.com; Yields 10-12 servings
Saffron matzo balls
8 large eggs
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chicken fat, melted (schmaltz), plus 2 tablespoons, for optional garnish
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups matzo meal
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 (3 1/2 to 4-pound) chicken
4 quarts chicken stock
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup quartered cherry or grape tomatoes
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced (1/4-inch) green bell pepper
2 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro leaves
4 garlic cloves, minced
Small pinch saffron
1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce, optional
1) To make the matzo balls, bring a large pot of salted water or chicken broth to a boil over high heat. Whisk the eggs, oils, chicken fat, water, parsley, salt, garlic powder, and pepper in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, add the matzo meal and sift in the baking powder. Mix together, then fold into the eggs. Cover with plastic wrap, pressed tightly against the batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
2) Moisten your hands lightly with water and form the matzo mixture into 24 walnut-sized balls. Carefully drop the matzo balls into the water or broth. Reduce the heat to medium and partially cover. Simmer gently until the matzo balls are cooked through, about 40 minutes. Using a skimmer or slotted spoon, transfer the matzo balls to a large bowl of cold water.
3) Meanwhile, make the soup. Bring the chicken pieces and stock to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the soup. Remove and discard the skin, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, and reserve the meat until service. Return the remaining bones back to the broth and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes more to further develop the soup’s flavor.
4) While the soup is simmering, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, tomatoes, red and green peppers, cilantro, garlic and saffron. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables in the sofrito are tender, but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the hot sauce, if using. Set the sofrito aside.
5) When ready to serve, strain the soup and discard the bones. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the sofrito and chicken pieces. Add the matzo balls and simmer until the matzo balls are heated through, about 5 minutes. (The soup and matzo balls can be prepared up to 2 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. Reheat before serving.)
6) Ladle the soup, along with sofrito, chicken and matzo balls into bowls and serve hot, with an optional drizzle of the additional melted chicken fat (schmaltz).
Recipe: Epicurious.com; Makes about 20 latkes
1 medium onion
3 pound russet (baking) potatoes (about 6)
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
About 1 cup vegetable oil for frying
Accompaniment: sour cream
Equipment: a deep-fat thermometer
1) Cut onion lengthwise to fit feed tube of a food processor, then grate with medium shredding disk. Transfer to a large bowl (do not clean processor).
2) Peel potatoes and put in a bowl of cold water. Cut potatoes lengthwise to fit feed tube, then grate and add to onions. Toss with lemon juice, then with flour, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Add eggs and stir to coat. Transfer to a colander set over a bowl (potatoes will release juices).
3) Preheat oven to 200F. 3Heat 1/4 inch oil to 360F in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat. Using a 1/4-cup measure, scoop 4 or 5 mounds of potato mixture into skillet. Flatten with a fork to form 3 1/2-to 4-inch pancakes. Cook until golden brown, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet and keep warm in oven while making more latkes.
Matzo-Crusted Chicken Cutlets
Recipe: Marthastewart.com; Yields 4 servings
1 large egg
8 unsalted matzos, crushed (about 3 cups)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Safflower oil, for frying
4 boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (4 to 5 ounces each), 1/2 inch thick
4 lemon wedges, for serving
1) Beat egg in a shallow dish. Mix crushed matzos, salt, and pepper in another shallow dish. Heat 1/2 inch of oil in a large cast-iron skillet until it registers 375 degrees on a deep-fry thermometer.
2) Working with 1 at a time, dip cutlets into egg, then into matzo, pressing to adhere and coating both sides. Place 2 cutlets in skillet, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
3) Transfer to paper towels. Repeat with remaining 2 cutlets. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Braised Short Ribs
Recipe: Foodnetwork.com; Yields 6 servings
1 bottle kosher for Passover Cabernet Sauvignon
2 tablespoons kosher for Passover vegetable oil
6 short ribs, trimmed
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
Matzoh meal, for dredging
10 cloves garlic, peeled
8 large shallots, peeled, trimmed, rinsed, split, and dried
2 medium carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
2 stalks celery, peeled, trimmed, and cut into 1-inch lengths
1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, coarsely chopped
6 sprigs Italian parsley
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 quarts unsalted beef stock or chicken stock
Freshly ground white pepper
1) Pour the wine into a large saucepan set over medium heat. When the wine is heated, carefully set it aflame. Let the flames die out, then increase the heat so that the wine boils; allow it to boil until it cooks down by 1/2. Remove from the heat.
2) Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
3) Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large casserole, large enough to hold 6 ribs, over medium-high heat. Season the ribs all over with salt and the crushed pepper. Dust the ribs with about 2 tablespoons of matzoh meal and then when the oil is hot, slip the ribs into the pot and sear for 4 to 5 minutes on each side, until well browned.
4) Transfer the browned ribs to a plate. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot; lower the heat to medium, and toss in the vegetables and herbs. Brown the vegetables lightly, 5 to 7 minutes, then stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute to blend.
5) Add the reduced wine, browned ribs, and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil; cover the pot tightly, and slide it into the oven to braise for about 2 1/2 hours, or until the ribs are tender enough to be easily pierced with a fork. Every 30 minutes or so, lift the lid and skim and discard whatever fat may have bubbled up to the surface.
6) Carefully transfer the meat to a heated serving platter with a lip and keep warm. Boil the pan liquid until it thickens and reduces to approximately 1 quart. Season with salt and pepper and pass through a fine-mesh strainer; discard the solids.
7) Presentation: Pour the sauce over the meat. Serve with vegetables of your choice.
Peanut Dacquoise with Peanut Butter Mousse
Recipe: Bonappetit.com; Yields 8-10 servings
1 1/4 cups roasted Spanish salted peanuts with skin (6 to 6 1/2 ounces), divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
6 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup chunky natural-style peanut butter
1/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
Pinch of coarse kosher salt
1 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/3 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
Pinch of fleur de sel (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 275F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Draw three 10 x 4 1/2-inch rectangles on parchment; turn parchment over. Finely grind 1 cup nuts with 1/4 cup sugar in processor. Coarsely chop remaining 1/4 cup nuts and set aside.
2) Using electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and coarse salt in large bowl until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beating until meringue is stiff and glossy. Add ground nut mixture and coarsely chopped nuts; fold gently just to blend.
3) Spoon 2 cups meringue onto each rectangle on parchment; spread evenly to fill rectangles (any remaining meringue can be baked as cookies).
4) Bake meringues until golden brown all over and dry to touch but still slightly soft, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool completely.
1) Using electric mixer, beat peanut butter, brown sugar, and coarse salt in medium bowl to blend. With mixer running, gradually beat in 1/4 cup cream. Add another 1/4 cup cream and beat just to blend.
2) Beat remaining cup cream, sugar, and vanilla in another medium bowl until peaks form; fold into peanut butter mixture in 3 additions. Chill until ready to use.
1) Whisk cocoa powder and sugar in medium saucepan to blend well. Gradually add 1/4 cup water, whisking until smooth. Gradually whisk in heavy cream. Bring to boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Reduce heat to low. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Let stand at room temperature until cool and slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours.
2) Leaving meringues on parchment and using large serrated knife, trim edges of each meringue to original 10×4 1/2-inch size. Slide thin knife between meringues and paper to loosen. Spoon 1/4 cup glaze evenly over top of 2 meringue rectangles and spread to cover. Chill until chocolate sets, about 30 minutes.
3) Place 1 glazed meringue rectangle on plate. Spoon half of mousse over (scant 1 1/4 cups); spread out in even layer. Place second glazed meringue rectangle atop first; spread with remaining mousse.
4) Top with unglazed meringue rectangle. Pour 1/2 cup glaze down center of top meringue. Using icing spatula, spread glaze over top meringue, allowing glaze to drip down sides. Smooth top and sides to cover evenly with thin layer.
5) Refrigerate until glaze is set, about 30 minutes. Pour remaining glaze over top of dacquoise and quickly smooth over top and sides in even layer. Sprinkle fleur de sel lightly over top, if desired. Chill at least 3 hours.