A Sweet New Year
As always, Rosh Hashanah is all about “sweet.” More than any holiday, this is when we eat good food and drink sweet wine.
We remember that holiday food not only celebrates the New Year, but is symbolic of our hopes for the coming year and is a wish to remove all destructive behavior from our world.
Whether the meaning is purely traditional or you are assigning your own significance to an original recipe, you are participating in a uniquely Jewish observance. For our people, what you eat is as much, or more, about nourishing the soul as it is the body.
The following recipes all are a bit sweet — with natural sweetness and added sweetness from vegetables, fruits, syrups, honey and, yes, sugar.
BROWN SUGAR AND HONEY-GARLIC ROAST CHICKEN BREASTS
- 8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds)
- ¼ cup olive oil (extra-virgin is good, too)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 Tbsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
If the chicken breasts are small (about 4 ounces each), use as is (just trim any extra fat from the breasts). If the breasts are large, cut in half and place the breasts on a clean surface and “pound” (using a meat mallet or rolling pin) the breasts to about ½-inch thick pieces. Transfer the chicken to a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl and toss the chicken to completely coat. Allow to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment or foil. Arrange the chicken breasts on the baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving, with pan juices drizzled over. Makes 8 servings.
Note: May be made ahead and cooked for 10 minutes and reheated at 250°F for 30 minutes (do not overcook).
BRAISED BEEF BRISKET WITH CARROTS, PARSNIPS AND POTATOES
- 1 flat- or first-cut brisket (about 4-5 pounds) visible fat removed
- ¼ cup olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 5 cups finely chopped onions
- 1 cup finely chopped carrot
- 1 cup finely chopped celery
- 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
- 3 cups red wine, any variety
- 6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 2 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
- 1 tsp. dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound whole baby carrots or regular carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pound peeled Idaho or russet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 pound peeled parsnips, cut into 1-inch chunks
Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown brisket, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to large roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan (you will need the space in the pan to cook the vegetables later), and season with salt and pepper. (Don’t worry about amount of salt and pepper — you can add more later, to taste). Add chopped onions, chopped carrots and celery to the pan, around the brisket. Add wine, broth, parsley, thyme and bay leaves to the pan. Add more broth to the pan to reach about a third of the way up the side of the brisket. Cover pan tightly with heavy-duty foil or a few layers of regular foil.
Cook brisket for 3 ½ hours. Chill the brisket 4 or more hours, up to 24 hours. Thinly slice brisket across grain. Arrange slices back in the pan with sauce, overlapping slices slightly.
Note: Brisket can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover and chill until a few hours before serving.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Heat the brisket for 1½ hours or more. Arrange the carrots, potatoes and parsnips around the beef and cover again with foil cook for 1½ hours more, until the vegetables and beef are tender. Transfer sliced brisket and sauce to platter and serve with the vegetables around the meat or transferred to another serving bowl. Spoon some of the pan sauce over the brisket with additional sauce on the side. Makes 8 servings.
QUINOA WITH SWEET POTATOES, WALNUTS AND POMEGRANATE
- 2 cups quinoa
- 4 cups water
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 cups peeled, ½-inch cubed sweet potatoes
- 1 cup chopped onions
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- ½ chopped chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 cup fresh chopped parsley or ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 cup pomegranate seeds (arils)
Combine quinoa with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Turn heat off, cover pan with a lid (or a plate) and allow to cool in the pan.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Combine with sweet potatoes and onion in a bowl and add the oil. Toss well. Arrange the potatoes and onions in a single layer on baking sheet and cook for 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Combine the quinoa, potatoes and remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Makes 8 servings.
CINNAMON AND HONEY PULL-APART BREAD
The first time I had “monkey bread” I was captivated. It was sweet and gooey, with lots of cinnamon. Like a sticky bun … but better. When I learned to make it with store-bought biscuit dough (the kind you pound the tube on the counter to open), I was hooked. It’s so pretty (looks like a cake) and pulling the small chunks of bread and popping them into my mouth … well, it’s just good.
- 2 ans refrigerated biscuits dough (about 16 ounces each —16 biscuits total)
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1½ cups ½-inch cubed, peeled granny smith apples
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter or margarine, melted
- ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large (about 12-cups) tube pan or Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Open the package of biscuit dough and separate the into individual biscuits. Cut each biscuit into four triangles (you should have 48 small pieces of dough) and roll into balls.
Place sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and add the dough. Toss well with your hands to coat the dough.
Place a layer of dough balls in the prepared tube pan. Sprinkle with some apples and raisins. Repeat with another layer of dough balls and more apples and raisins, until you run out of ingredients.
Combine butter, brown sugar and honey in a microwave-safe dish and cook for 1 minute. Stir the mixture and drizzle over the biscuit pieces.
Bake 35-40 minutes or until golden. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn onto a serving dish and serve wall, pulling apart the bread to serve (use your hands or a tongs). Makes 16 servings.
BAKED TOMATO, ZUCCHINI AND EGGPLANT CASSEROLE
If dairy is not an issue, sprinkle the casserole with 1½ cups of fresh grated Parmesan cheese after uncovering and baking for 30 minutes more.
- 1 can (14-ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
- 3 cups 1-inch diced eggplant
- 2 cups 1-inch diced zucchini
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
(or ½ tsp. dried)
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a large attractive baking dish well with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. Serve hot or warm or at room temperature. Makes 8-2 servings.
All recipes ©Annabel Cohen 2018 email@example.com.