By Tina Wasserman
Hope you are all coping well with the sequestering. I guess it is giving you more time to prepare for Pesach. However, the difficulty this year is not switching over your kitchen or finding enough plates and silverware to serve hoards of people. The difficulty this year is finding the ingredients and finding the koach (spirit) to cook for only one, two or four people in your household.
So here’s my solution. No turducken ordered from the kosher butcher in Rego Park and no lamb tagine because I can’t get my hands on lamb stew meat. How about chicken, ground meat and a reprise of my no brainer, three ingredients brisket for easy delicious main dishes that will make great leftovers if you have a small family.
Wishing you all a Zeisen Pesach!
Dolly’s Easy Favorite Chicken
Here’s one recipe that doesn’t need copious directions from my friend Dolly.
Last year I told you about using Gold’s Duck Sauce on chicken parts and then baking at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to an hour until done.
Catalina or French dressing (kosher for Passover)
3-4 lbs. chicken parts
1 can whole cranberry sauce
- Combine 6 ounces of Catalina or French dressing (kosher for Passover) with 1 can of whole cranberry sauce. Stir to combine.
- Pour over 3-4 pounds of chicken parts. Cover with foil (shiny side facing you) and then bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 10 minutes or until the skin is golden brown.
• If you are concerned about chicken drying out make sure that the foil is shiny side out to repel the heat rather than to absorb it.
• Chicken thighs and legs will always be more moist than breasts especially if they are made in advance and reheated.
• Chicken cooked with skin and bone will always be more moist then the skinless and boneless varieties and should NEVER be baked for more than 15-20 minutes unless imbedded in a casserole.
• If you have an instant read thermometer than the proper temperature of cooked poultry is 165F
NOTE: If you are using fresh Cranberries here’s a basic recipe for making fresh Cranberry Sauce.
3 Cups fresh Cranberries
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ cup of water
- Mix the cranberries, water and sugar
- Over medium heat bring to a boil.
- Simmer for 10 minutes. Stirring frequently
- Let cool.
Sweet and Sour Easy Pot Roast
If you can get your hands on a brisket, some apricot preserves and a package of Lipton’s or Goodman’s dry onion soup mix then here is a reprise from last year that is more necessary this year when it is harder to find ingredients.
1 brisket 4-6 pounds
1 12-ounce jar of apricot preserves
1 envelope of dried onion soup mix
- Place a large piece of extra wide heavy duty foil shiny side up in a roasting pan.
- Sprinkle half the contents of the onion soup on the foil.
- Place ½ of the jar of apricot preserves over the soup mixture.
- Place the meat fat side up (if there is a fat side) in the pan over the preserves and soup.
- Sprinkle the remaining soup over the meat, and dot with the remaining preserves being careful that the spoon for the preserves NEVER touches the meat.
- Bring the long sides of the foil together and make 3 or 4 folds to seal closed but not tight on the meat.
- At either end, fold up 2 times, fold the points in as if you are wrapping a present, and then fold across the end 2 more times to seal the end. Repeat on the other side.
- Place in a 300-degree oven and roast for 3-4 hours depending on the thickness of the meat.
- If you have folded the foil correctly, you can lift up the foil envelope and the pan will be clean.
- Carefully open a corner of the foil and pour the gravy into a container. Chill the meat in the foil until it is cold. Freeze for later use, or slice the cold meat on a slight diagonal against the grain and place in a 13×9 Pyrex pan.
- When ready to serve, skim the fat off the gravy, pour the gravy over the meat, cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 or 6 minutes until everything is nice and hot. Serve from the Pyrex or transfer onto a serving plate.
Syrian Spiced Meat with Eggplant and Prunes
This recipe does make a lot and it might be hard to find an eggplant, BUT, Passover is eight days and this mixture freezes and/or reheats very well so give it a try. And you know you always need some prunes to combat the effects of matzo!
2 pounds ground chuck meat
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 medium or 3 large onions, halved lengthwise and cut into fourths crosswise
4 large red potatoes, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices
12 ounces pitted prunes
1 large eggplant, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch slices
Two 6-ounce cans of regular tomato paste (not flavored)
¼ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Passover imitation soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
½ tablespoon tamarind concentrate (optional), available in Asian markets or the Asian aisle of your grocery store.
- In a 2-quart bowl, combine the ground meat with the allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Distribute the spices evenly by first mixing with a fork and then with your hands.
- Place the oil in the bottom of a 6-quart Dutch oven or metal casserole.
- Place half of the onion slices in the bottom of the pot, and cover with half of the meat, making sure that you press the meat evenly and firmly into the onions.
- Scatter half of the potatoes, prunes and eggplant over the meat.
- Repeat with the remaining onions, seasoned meat, potatoes, prunes and eggplant.
- In a 3-quart bowl, combine the tomato paste with the remaining ingredients along with salt and pepper to taste into a smooth sauce. Pour the sauce evenly over the meat and vegetables and gently swirl the pan to allow the sauce to evenly permeate the dish. I sometimes poke holes in the mixture to allow the sauce to initially penetrate the interior.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Keeping the liquid at a medium simmer, cook the mixture for two hours or until the potatoes are tender and the sauce is thickened. If you prefer, the mixture can be cooked in a preheated oven at 300 to 350 degrees for about the same amount of time. Just make sure that the sauce is simmering so that it will thicken properly in a reasonable amount of time.
- Serve with some quinoa flavored with pine nuts and sautéed onions if you like, or you can serve it the Syrian way with rice if you don’t subscribe to the Kitniot prohibition.
Yield: 10-12 servings
• Over working ground meat can actually make it very tough especially if there is no “filler” like eggs or matzo meal to make the mixture lighter in texture.
• Use a turkey baster to get the liquids from the bottom of the pot to pour over the top layer so that all the ingredients are flavored uniformly.
• If you can’t find an eggplant, substitute zuchinni or other butternut squash or even cauliflower; some vegetable that will cook up soft and without a strong flavor. Basically whatever you can find in the supermarket this week.