What is Passover? In one word, it’s a celebration! And one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays worldwide. Passover has ancient, historical and spiritual roots that run through all generations then and now, always and forever.
According to the edited version of the story told to me by some of my closest Jewish friends, blood from a sacrificial young lamb or goat was painted over doorways in order to signal to God to “pass over” Israelite homes during the last of ten plagues in order to keep the firstborn child of the household safe. But there’s much more to the Passover story than that.
Based deeply in tradition, the story of Passover is told at the Seder table. Specific foods and wine are served which are symbolic of the holiday. As always, all biblical stories are incredibly interesting and read better than most books on the best seller lists today. If you would like a more in depth, thorough and detailed explanation of Passover, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover.
Now, lets get down to the business of food, so we can all share a little of this wonderful holiday feast and tradition together. What follows are a few Seder recipes from some very well loved and respected sources:
•1 leg of lamb, 5–7 lb.
•3 cloves garlic, mashed
•Salt and pepper
•½ cup butter
•¼ cup fresh rosemary leaves
•½ cup celery leaves, shredded
•¾ cup green pepper, cubed
•4 small sprigs rosemary
•1 cup mint jelly
•¼ cup orange juice
•Fresh mint leaves (optional)
To get the most flavor out of a good leg of lamb, start the process with the lamb at room temperature.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Rub the meat all over with the mashed garlic; sprinkle well with salt and pepper.
Place on a rack in a large roasting pan.
Pour the butter over the lamb and drizzle with fresh rosemary leaves; surround with celery leaves and green peppers.
Place entire sprigs of rosemary on top of the other greenery.
Cook for about 1–1½ hours, until tender. (At this temperature, the meat would most likely be rare. One can use a meat thermometer: 145°F for rare, 160°F-170°F for medium. Do not overcook.)
Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes prior to serving.
Mix the mint jelly and the orange juice in a small pitcher and pour over lamb while cooling. Cover with fresh mint when serving, if desired.
Yield: 8–12 servings
Please read my December 2010 blog featuring COOKING WITH THE BIBLE and a wonderful interview with these two very special authors.
To purchase Cooking with the Bible: http://www.anthonychiffolo.com/now_in_paperback____i_cooking_with_the_bible__biblical_food__feasts__and_lore__i_76427.htm
More recipes from Anthony and Ray available under “A Passover Meal” here:
**Grammy’s Matzo Ball Soup
(Be sure to read recipe first since there are two methods suggested for skimming fat and residue; one is an overnight process).
• 3 lb. whole chicken, cut into pieces
• 2 small peeled onions cut into quarters
• 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
• 3 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
• 3 parsnips, coarsely chopped
• 1 bunch parsley leaves, chopped
• 2 bay leaves
• 1-tablespoon whole peppercorns
• 1-teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 small peeled onion, left whole
• 8 oz. of favorite egg noodles (or just boil the whole 16 oz. bag. Who doesn’t LOVE egg noodles in chicken soup. Talk about comfort food!)
Add chicken pieces to a 3-4 quart stockpot. Cover with water and bring to a boil.
Once water boils, lower heat immediately and simmer for 1 hour.
Skim residue off top of soup as needed.
Remove chicken from broth.
Add vegetables and cook for an additional 45 minutes.
You can continue to skim the residue off the top of stock as necessary until it’s mostly gone, or you can place entire pot in refrigerator, covered, and skim fat off top the next day. I prefer the overnight method because the stock turns out to be clear with little or no fat.
Boil egg noodles in a separate pot, drain and add to broth.
Serve with or without chicken.
• 4 eggs, separated
• 2 tbsp. oil
• 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1-cup matzo meal
• Pinch of salt for matzo ball batter
• 1 tsp. kosher salt for boiling water
Whip egg whites until stiff.
Whip yolks until they are well mixed, at least two minutes.
Fold yolks into whites, add oil and mix.
In a separate bowl, mix baking powder, matzo meal and salt.
Slowly add dry mixture to wet and mix well.
Let batter sit 15-20 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add 1 tsp. salt.
Roll batter into golf-size balls with wet hands.
Drop gently into boiling, salted water. Boil covered for 25 minutes on low heat.
Serve with broth.
**Recipe courtesy of Ruth Gerber
Preheat oven 350 degrees
• 2 cups flour
• 1 tsp. baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 6 tbsp sugar
• ½ stick unsalted butter, cut in
• ¼ cup milk
• 2 eggs, well beaten
• ½ tsp vanilla
Use prune butter for filling (available in any supermarket), or apricot or raspberry jam.
Toss dough on floured board several times.
Divide into two parts.
Roll one part with rolling pin until about 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut into circular shape, about three inches wide with (floured) top of drinking glass, Place approximately 1 teaspoon of prune filling onto the center of each circle.
Pinch each end closed, forming cookies into a triangle.
Bake 10 minutes or until lightly brown.
***Recipe courtesy of Hilda Actor.
I know, I know…these cookies are traditionally served at Purim (which just passed), but I had to include the recipe here because it’s one of my all time favorite Jewish holiday treats and because it reminds me of a childhood friend who was very near and dear to me…and most important, IT’S MY BLOG (LOL).
KHAG kah-SHARE v’sah-MAY-akh (or Happy Passover),
The Big Tine