Rosh Hashanah arrives on Wednesday evening, Sept. 4 – but the cooking is already in full swing. We checked out what some of the most well-respected kosher cooks have on their holiday menus this year. And here is what we found.
Stuffed chicken breast with a red wine, pepper and honey sauce
By Avigail Myzlik, Israeli chef and author
The perfect dish for Rosh Hashanah day
4 chicken breast halves (de-skinned and de-boned)
Large onion, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup dried pears
1/4 cup prunes
1/4 cup blanched almond halves
1/2 cup Yarden Merlot
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup Yarden Merlot
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme (fresh or dry)
Heat a pan with olive oil and brown the onion over a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the onion becomes soft and golden. Add the dried fruit and wine to the pan and bring to a boil. Cook on a strong heat until most of the liquid evaporates. Pour all this filling into a separate bowl and in the pan roast the almond halves until golden. Add to the filling and season with salt and pepper. Create a pocket lengthwise along the chicken breasts and fill with the filling. Close with wooden toothpicks. Mix the honey, mustard, ground pepper and thyme. Spread over the chicken breasts and season with salt. Place the chicken breasts in a medium dish and pour the wine for the sauce over them. Roast the chicken breasts in an oven preheated to 420 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove. Pour the remaining liquid from the chicken into a small pot and thicken slightly over a high heat. Cut the breasts into slices and serve with a little sauce drizzled over them.
The Yarden Merlot is a true classic, aged for 14 months in French oak barrels. It is a full-bodied, award-winning wine which showcases fruity notes of plum and cherry layered with nuances of chocolate, fresh herbs and a delicious earthiness. Yarden’s series of Merlots have consistently outdone themselves for sheer quality, powerfulness and for simply bursting with flavor. It provides the perfect accompaniment to this equally flavorsome dish.
Another option, which matches with a range of chicken dishes, is the Gilgal Merlot. Without compromising on their reputation for high quality wines, the Gilgal Merlot displays extreme value for money. The Gilgal Merlot is aged for 9 months in French oak barrels and has a slightly lighter body than the longer aged Yarden Merlot. The Gilgal Merlot displays notes of red berries and cherry and its pleasant finish, displaying oak and pepper notes, is truly expressed when left to breathe prior to serving.
By Ronnie Fein
Ronnie Fein is author of Hip Kosher, from which this recipe is taken. Fein, who lives in Stamford, is now working on another kosher cookbook. She writes:
I have served [this recipe] often for Rosh Hashanah. My family loves it and carrots are of course traditional for Rosh Hashanah. This is a thick but elegant soup that’s gently sweet but also has the complex combination of flavors I strive for when I create recipes. It includes both cumin and dried coriander. It is also a dish you can make several days ahead. And it can be either meat or pareve, depending on which stock you use. So it is also versatile.
I like it as a first course to turkey, which I always make on Rosh Hashanah, but I know it will be just as good if you’re serving brisket, chicken or any other roast. The soup is fine if you serve it as is, but if you add a garnish or two it really gives it a festive touch that makes it more special for holiday meals. Simple strands of chives will do. Or crumbled pita crisps or croutons. If you want to bulk it up you can make dumplings (just mix some beaten egg and flour and drop it by the forkful into the soup and let it cook for a few minutes).
You can also make this extra rich as a cream soup for a dairy meal. Add some half-and-half cream at the end and heat through (of course, this would make it dairy, so be sure to use vegetable stock). Or serve it with a dollop of plain yogurt on top.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the carrots, parsnips, cumin, coriander, and some salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another minute, stirring ingredients. Add the stock and one cup water, bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, about 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Puree the soup and return it to the pan to reheat. Serves 4–6.
Author Mollie Katzen helps you conquer the pomegranate this Rosh Hashanah
JNS.org – In the traditions of many Jewish holidays, there’s a poetic relationship between the festival’s culinary laws and that season’s foods. While the relationship linking Rosh Hashanah with apples and honey never grows old, the elegant and elusive pomegranate is less acknowledged, though profoundly tied to biblical literature and ancient agriculture. Pomegranate seeds offer the kind of culinary beauty that cause us to slow down, take note, and absorb the scared spirit of newness. That being said, they can be a pain to wrangle.
Mollie Katzen is here to help. Katzen has sold more than 6 million books and is listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time. She has been named by Health Magazine as one of “The Five Women Who Changed the Way We Eat.” Her new book, The Heart of the Plate: Vegetarian Recipes for a New Generation, is being published in September 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Here are Katzen’s strategies to help you conquer the pomegranate this Rosh Hashanah:
The easy (and un-messy) method for mining a pomegranate
Have ready a big bowl of water. Cut the fruit into quarters, and submerge them. Peel them under water, and keep them in there as you comb through with your fingers to loosen the seeds. The skins and inedible pith will float to the surface (skim this away thoroughly, and discard), and the seeds will sink to the bottom. Strain, and you’ve got the goods.
Roasted Acorn Squash Rings with Pomegranate-Lime Glaze
Simple and sweet, these golden circles topped with the contrasting tart glaze will round out your dinner plate. Be careful slicing the squash. Use a very sharp paring knife, inserting the point first and using a gently sawing motion. The easiest way to remove the seeds is to cut loose the strand around them with scissors, and then scrape them away with a spoon.
You can make the glaze well ahead of time. It keeps indefinitely.
Olive oil for the baking tray
2 medium-size acorn squash (about 3 pounds)—skin on, and cut into 1/2-inch rings
Pomegranate-Lime Glaze (recipe follows)
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (possibly more to taste)
Acorn squash directions:
1) Position a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with foil, and coat it lightly with olive oil. (You can use one of the squash rings to spread it around.) Arrange the squash slices on the prepared tray, and place the tray in the oven.
2) After about 15 to 20 minutes (or when the squash is fork-tender and lightly browned on top and around the edges) remove the tray from the oven, and spoon or brush the still-hot squash with a light coating of the glaze.
3) Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature, decorated with pomegranate seeds. Pass a little dish of extra glaze at the table.
Yield: 6 servings (about 3 pieces per serving)
Pomegranate-Lime Glaze directions:
2) Serve at room temperature, spooned over hot or room temperature food.
Yield: 1/3 cup (about 1 tablespoon per serving). Good on all vegetables, grains, tofu, chicken, meat, etc.
Curried Eggplant Slap-Down
with Yogurt, Onion Relish, and Pomegranate
Adapted from “The Heart of the Plate”
Small eggplants, artfully prepared, can be an elegant appetizer or a light lunch, in addition to a welcome side dish.
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or peanut oil
Up to 1 teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)
1 teaspoon curry powder
Four 4-ounce eggplants, trimmed and halved lengthwise
1/2 teaspoon salt (plus a big extra pinch)
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
Another scant tablespoon oil (hot, so the seeds will sizzle on contact)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon (big pinch) turmeric
1 cup minced onion
Pomegranate seeds and/or pomegranate concentrate or molasses
1) Place a medium (9-inch) skillet over medium heat and wait about a minute, then add 1/2 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Melt some butter into the oil, if desired, and sprinkle in the curry powder, which will sizzle upon contact.
2) Add the eggplant halves with their cut sides facing down into the oil, swishing them around (as though you’re wiping the pan with them) to both distribute and acquire the curry. Turn the heat to medium low, cover the pan, and cook undisturbed for about 8 minutes—until each eggplant half becomes tender. (Peek underneath a few times to be sure the cut surfaces are not becoming too dark. If they are, lower the heat, and/or turn the eggplants over onto their backs sooner than I am about to advise in step 3.) The eggplant is cooked when the stem end can easily be pierced with a fork.
3) Flip the eggplants onto their backs, sprinkle with a 1/4 teaspoon salt, and transfer to a plate. Spoon a little yogurt onto each open surface, spreading it to cover; set aside while you prepare the onion.
4) Keeping the same pan over medium high heat, add another 1/2 tablespoon oil, swirling to coat the pan. Sprinkle in the cumin seeds and turmeric (should both sizzle on contact), and mix them a little to pick up some of the flavor that may have adhered. Add the onion and a big pinch of salt, tossing to coat. Cook quickly over medium heat (about five minutes, or until tender-crisp) then remove the pan from the heat. Divide the onions evenly among the four halves, spooning them over the yogurt (and scraping and maximally including any remaining tasty bits from the pan).
5) Top with pomegranate seeds and/or a drizzle of pomegranate concentrate or molasses. Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Yield: 4 servings
A look at the best of Israeli wine hitting the shelves this Rosh Hashanah
Yarden 2T 2009
The 2009 Yarden 2T was the talk of Vinexpo in Bordeaux this year. This intriguing blend of two Portuguese varieties, Tinta Cao and Touriga Nacional, drew international wine experts to the Golan Heights Winery’s booth at the festival. One Portuguese producer thanked the Israelis
“for treating our varieties so well.” A true compliment.
Spicy chocolate aromas from the 2T envelop the senses and these are balanced out by the long berry and plum flavors that linger on the palate. This wine is full-bodied and has a very concentrated flavor that will accompany any number of beef or lamb dishes.
Galil Mountain, Yiron 2009
An award winning wine gracing the shelves this Rosh HaShannah is the Galil Mountain Winery’s 2009 Yiron blend which picked up the Israel prize at the Citadelles du Vin awards. This wine also hit the headlines this year when stars of TV’s “Scandal” were blown away by the quality of Israeli wines on a recent press trip to the country with the Yiron being a particular favorite.
Deep red in color, the 2009 Yiron displays strong aromas of berries, blueberry and cassis on a background of vanilla and toasted oak. With a unique flavor, perhaps enhanced by the small amount of Petit Verdot in the blend (in addition to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), this wine is a great accompaniment to a festive meal.
White wine, when paired correctly, can undoubtedly enhance a festive meal. Given that this year Rosh HaShannah is bordered by Shabbat, the change in wine style will demark yet another festive meal.
For a refreshing white wine, the Gilgal Chardonnay fits the bill. Chardonnay is a beloved wine variety and in recent years the Gilgal series has developed a reputation as an affordable brand with an unusually high quality. The Gilgal Chardonnay’s fresh fruitiness balances well with the sweetness and light acidity of its lively citrus notes. It is aged for four months in oak barrels, lending it a subtle richness complementing the ripe notes of pear, lemon, and tropical fruits present in every glass.
While the Gilgal Chardonnay will go perfectly with a varied range of poultry or fish dishes, this Rosh HaShannah, try it with roasted chicken and apple salsa.
And for dessert…
Yarden Heightswine 2011
The Yarden Heightswine has become the talk of the kosher wine world. Once, the very mention of sweet, kosher wine produced memories of the sickly sweet beverage marketed as a sacramental wine. Thankfully this stigma has been rebuffed by the award-winning wines being produced in Israel and worldwide. Most are now aware that sweet wine can be elegant, mouth-watering and of an extremely high quality; the Yarden Heightswine is proof of this.
Having won an international award in almost every continent, this dessert wine knocked competitors out of the water when it won the best sweet wine at the recent Decanter awards in London. The 2011 Yarden Heightswine showcases an intense and aromatic mix of litchi, pineapple, apricot, melon and citrus characters with a subtle hint of honeysuckle and spice. Such a luxurious wine can be served as a dessert on its own or accompany a rich fruit tart to make this a truly Sweet New Year.