Chicken and Apples
(iStock)

Add apples to your High Holiday recipes to ring in a sweet new year.

Good and sweet are charming words echoed from one to the next in greetings, prayers to the foods we eat. Though each word is simple, the expectations are manifold: a new job, good health, new love, becoming a better Jew, a safer world.

When we recite the Musaf prayers at Rosh Hashanah, with its messages of kingliness, remembrances and the blowing of the shofar when we received the Torah, we believe them.

Throughout Jewish history, food is our tangible symbol for hopes and desires. Just as we require food to live, we require ethics and principles to flourish. 

The most elementary association of food with religion is of the symbolic dipping of challah and apple slices into honey. It translates literally into sweetness and bounty. Heads of fish are long thought to symbolize the head of the year as well as the notion that one should have a future that’s the “tops.” Pomegranates with its abundant seeds symbolize mitzvot (may you have as many as there are seeds). 

Michigan folk can’t get enough apples. Look here to add apples to every part of the Rosh Hashanah celebration!

Chicken with Apples, Honey and Mushrooms

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds raw chicken breasts (halved lengthwise — horizontally — if large)

Apple Mushroom Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth (canned is fine)
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 2 cups 1-inch chunked apples, peeled
  • 1 pound fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 325°F. Make the sauce: Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened. Add the remaining ingredients, whisk well and bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by a quarter.

Arrange chicken in a large foil pan or baking dish. Pour sauce over. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot or bring to room temperature, cover with foil and chill for up to a day ahead. To serve, reheat in 300°F oven for 20-30 minutes. Makes 8-10 servings.

Brisket with Apples

Ingredients

Roasting sauce:

  • 2 cups tomato sauce (or one can, about 14 oz.)
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • Water
  • 2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. dark chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh minced garlic
  • ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper

Beef:

  • ¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 beef brisket (about 5 pounds) trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 cups 1-inch, chunked granny smith apples, peeled or unpeeled

Directions

Prepare roasting sauce: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk well. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.

Arrange the brisket in a roasting pan or disposable aluminum pan. Pour the roasting sauce over the beef. Scatter the onions around the brisket and cover the pan tightly with foil. Cook in the preheated oven for 3½ hours.

Chill the brisket several hours to overnight. Uncover and remove most (not all) of the fat that has solidified on top. Remove the beef from the pan to a cutting board (reserve all juices). Slice the brisket against the grain into thin slices. Return the beef to the roasting pan and overlap the slices, fanning them slightly. Pour the reserved juices over the beef, add the apples and cover with foil and reheat at 250°F. for 1 or more hours (uncovered to brown the beef) until the beef is very tender. Makes 8-12 servings.

Apricot Pecan Balsamic Baked Apples

Imagine an apple strudel … without the pastry. To make it a bit richer, serve with lightly sweetened fresh whipped cream (spiked with a bit of liqueur, if desired), or vanilla sauce,

Ingredients

Apples:

  • 6 medium-size sweet apples, about 2 pounds (Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala and Honeycrisp are good choices)
  • 2 Tbsp. spiced rum, optional
  • Ground cinnamon

Filling:

  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 6 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ¼ cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Core apples and peel the top third of each apple. Place the apples in a baking dish just large enough to accommodate them. 

Toss together the filling ingredients and divide them among the center of the cored apples. Any remaining filling can be sprinkled over the apples. Sprinkle the apples with the liqueur, if using.

Cover with foil and bake uncovered 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for 20 minutes more.  Cool to room temperature. To serve, spoon pan juices over each apple and sprinkle with pecans. Serve with fresh whipped cream. Makes 6 servings. 

Cider Mill Grilled Chicken

Make lots of this chicken because the leftovers are great. 

Ingredients

  • 6 cups apple cider
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. course ground pepper
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. granulated garlic
  • 1 Tbsp. dried parsley flakes
  • 1 Tbsp. hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 chickens (about 3 pounds each), cut into 8 pieces each (or 12 chicken breasts with bones and skin)

Directions 

Pour the cider into saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook, stirring occasionally until the cider is reduced to 2 cups. Add the sugar, chili sauce, salt, pepper, vinegar, garlic, parsley, pepper sauce and thyme. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cook for 10 minutes more. 

Place the chicken pieces in a large baking dish and pour the sauce over. Cover with plastic wrap and chill several hours to overnight to marinate, turning the pieces once or twice. Alternately, you may place the chicken in a large zipper-style bag and pour the sauce over. Seal the bag and turn it to coat the chicken. Chill until ready to cook.

Heat grill to medium high. Grill the chicken, turning it once or twice, until it is beginning color. Reduce the heat or place the pieces on a cooler spot of the grill and cook slowly, brushing with the marinade, until the chicken is cooked through (chicken breasts cook quickest, so remove those and keep warm in the oven until other pieces are cooked through). Makes 8-12 servings. 

Apples stuffed with plum jam, cinnamon and nuts, ready for baking
iStock
Caramel Apple Pecan Kugel

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1½ cups chopped pecans
  • 1 pound thin noodles
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1½ cup chopped, peeled golden delicious apple
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tsp, salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Spray a 9×13-inch (or 12-inch) glass or ceramic baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the butter over the bottom of the pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Sprinkle the pecans over the sugar. 

Cook the noodles according to the package directions to al dente and drain well. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Transfer the mixture to the pan (do not stir).

Bake, uncovered, for 1 hour or until the top is brown. Chill completely before cutting the kugel into squares. Warm again at 250°F for 1 hour (covered in foil) and serve warm. Makes 16-20 servings.  

Tzimmes

The addition of balsamic vinegar and dried cherries updates this classic holiday dish.

Ingredients

  • 6 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 cups 2-inch pieces of carrots
  • 2 cups 2-inch chunks sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups 2-inch chunks parsnips
  • 2 cups 2-inch chunks peeled apples (any variety)
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup honey
  • cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh chopped chives, garnish

Directions

Preheat oven to 400°F. Melt butter or margarine in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until golden. Let the onions cool slightly before transferring to a large bowl. Toss with remaining ingredients, except chives, and transfer the mixture to a large baking dish. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 1 hour, or until the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasonings and serve hot. Makes 12 servings. 

 

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