Pesach is a time for delicious dishes and with the right recipes, a time when you won’t even miss the chometz. I stick to recipes Pesach that mostly include fresh ingredients and spices that are already Kosher for Pesach and do not require too much substitution or alteration. Try these recipes and you will be extremely excited by the results and even incorporate them into your everyday repertoire.
Classic Potato Leek Soup
Serves 8 – 10
Make this one pareve or dairy. If you make it dairy use butter in place of the margarine and use dairy cream. It can be made a few days ahead of time. Keep it chilled in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
4 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter
3 medium leeks, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced crosswise
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
8 cups water
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer or cream
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Freshly ground pepper
Melt the margarine/butter in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, onions and 2 teaspoons of salt and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the white wine and boil until nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the potatoes are very tender, about 35 minutes.
With an immersion blender puree the soup (you can use a blender too) until very smooth. Return the soup to the pan. Add the non-dairy cream and bring to just a simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally. Season with salt. Ladle the soup into heatproof glasses or bowls. Garnish with the chives and pepper and serve.
Pan-Roasted Chicken with Leeks
The pastrami gives this extra flavor. If you prefer, you can omit it.
3 slices pastrami, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 chicken pieces (about 2 pounds)
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bunch leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Put the imitation bacon or pastrami in a large heavy-bottomed ovenproof skillet (large enough to hold the chicken, I use a dutch oven for this) and cook over medium-high heat until crispy, about 3-4 minutes. Remove the imitation bacon from the pan. Do not rinse the pan. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then add it to the pan with reserved grease and cook, turning, until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan. In the same pan, add garlic and leeks , and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and non-dairy milk and bring mixture to a boil. Simmer and reduce the heat until sauce thickens slightly, about 5-7 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the chicken back to the pan and transfer to the oven and roast until the chicken is golden, 25 to 30 minutes (or approximately 160 degrees). Transfer the chicken to a platter. Top with crispy imitation bacon, parsley and lemon juice.
Braised Brisket with Tzimmes
Serves 8 to 10
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 (4 to 5 pound) beef brisket
1 quart beef stock
1 pint apple cider or apple juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
6 large carrots, peeled and chopped into bite size coins
3 large sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
2 cups pitted prunes
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
For the brisket, heat the oil in a large skillet until hot. Sear the brisket on each side, 3 to 4 minutes, then place it in a large roasting pan, pouring the stock and cider over the brisket. Cook, covered, for 3 hours.
For the tzimmes, after the brisket has cooked for 3 hours, add the carrots and sweet potatoes or yams to the pan. Cook for another hour. Add the prunes to the pan, increase the heat to 375 degrees, and continue to cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the brisket to a serving dish to rest and scoop up the tzimmes with a slotted spoon, placing them around the brisket.
For the sauce, in a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat then add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally. When the shallots begin to caramelize a bit, add the reserved brisket cooking liquid and the cider. Simmer slowly until the liquids are reduced by half. Adjust the seasonings. Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with the tzimmes and the sauce.
Salad with Oranges, Pecans, Craisins and an Avocado Dressing
This is fresh and seasonal and perfect for Passover. The avocado dressing is creamy. Make sure to use ripe avocados.
1 Hass avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
½ cup water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
½ teaspoon salt
6 cups mixed salad greens, washed, dried, and torn
2 oranges, peeled and diced
¼ cup, chopped toasted pecans
2 tablespoons minced and dried cranberries or raisins (optional)
For the dressing
In a food processor, combine all the ingredients and process until they are smooth.
For the salad
In a large bowl, mix together the lettuce, oranges, pecans and dried cranberries. Toss with the dressing and serves immediately.
Rocky Road Brownies
4 ounces chocolate, chopped
1 cup oil or margarine (use a neutral oil like grapeseed oil)
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup matza cake meal or potato starch
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup mini marshmallows
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup walnuts, chopped in little pieces
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt chopped chocolate and oil/margarine, until smooth, stirring so the chocolate does not burn. Stir in the sugar, turn off the heat and cool a little bit.
Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Stir in cake meal, salt and chocolate chips. Fold in marshmallows and walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 26 – 28 minutes, or until moist crumbs appear on a cake tester. Remove from oven and sprinkle with the marshmallows reserved for the topping. Bake for an additional 4 – 5 minutes or until marshmallows appear a little toasted and puffed up.
In a small saucepan, melt chocolate chips for the topping over low heat. Drizzle melted chocolate all over the brownies and then sprinkle with walnuts.
Cut into bars. These freeze well. Defrost in the refrigerator.
Any Fruit Sorbet
I made this with frozen peaches. So refreshing! This works with other fruit too, like mango or cantelope. If you do not have an ice cream maker, do not worry, follow the steps below for great sorbet without one!
2 cups peach puree (from about 3 pounds very ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and pureed)
¾ cup simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, simmered together into a syrup), or more if needed
¼ cup water, or more to taste
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 drops almond extract, optional
Pinch of salt
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Taste and adjust the sweetness by adding water to weaken or simple syrup to intensify, if necessary. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Or transfer to a 9-inch square baking pan, cover, and freeze until solid. Up to 2 hours before serving, remove from the freezer, let soften lightly, then cut the frozen sorbet into chunks with a blunt table knife. Transfer to a food processor and process until smooth and almost doubled in volume. Serve immediately or transfer to a plastic container, seal tightly, and return to the freezer until serving time.