After eating all our wonderful family tradition seder dishes, I find it fun to try out meals that I haven’t before and that are not from my cultural background. Here are some you might want to try.
MATZAH MEAT PIE
(Egyptian-born Claudia Roden is the master of Middle Eastern food and author of 20 cookbooks. Now 84 years old, she lives in London. I met her in the 1970s, when she came to Israel and we had a wonderful visit. This is her recipe from the New York Times Passover Cookbook, adapted from The Book of Jewish Foods, which she wrote. It makes four to six servings.)
1 large chopped onion
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 pounds ground lamb or beef
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 tbsp raisins
2 tbsp pine nuts or walnuts
1 cup warm beef stock
1 small egg, beaten
- Preheat oven to 375˚F. Spray a pie plate with vegetable spray.
- Heat two tablespoons oil in a frying pan and fry onion over medium heat for 10 minutes, until golden. Add ground meat, salt, pepper, cinnamon and allspice. Cook, stirring until meat has browned but is still moist, about 10 minutes. Add raisins.
- In another pan, fry the nuts in one tablespoon oil for one minute, stirring until nuts are lightly coloured. Add to meat mixture and stir.
- Place beef stock in a large, shallow rectangular pan. Soak matzot one at a time, pressing them gently to absorb the liquid.
- Press two or three softened matzot into a pie plate. Place meat mixture on top of matzot. Cover pie with remaining matzot. Brush top with beaten egg. Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden.
(This recipe comes from It Tastes Too Good to be Kosher by Peter A. Weissenstein and is a Lebanese dish, good for using up leftover lamb or chicken.)
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground chicken
4 minced garlic cloves
salt to taste
2 medium, diced onions
1 finely diced large tomato
2 tsp cumin
4 tbsp minced parsley
- In a bowl, combine lamb, chicken, garlic, salt, onions, tomato, cumin and parsley and blend.
- Heat oil in a frying pan. Spoon mixture into frying pan and fry until well heated. Serve with Israeli salad.
BRISKET MEATBALLS IN TOMATO PASSATA
(Passata is Italian for “go through,” i.e. the cooked tomato puree goes through a special machine. This Italian-influenced dish was created by Hillary Sterling for Vic’s, her New York City restaurant. It makes four servings.)
1 1/2 cups crumbled, unsalted matzah
2 1/2 tbsp water
1 1/4 pounds ground brisket
1 large egg
1 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1 1/2 tsp ground fennel seeds (optional)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
pepper to taste
1/4 cup sliced garlic
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 28-ounce can crushed, drained plum tomatoes
1/8 cup fresh marjoram leaves
2 1/2 four-by-one-inch orange peel strips
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425˚F. Set a wire rack inside a large baking sheet and spray with vegetable oil.
- Combine crumbled matzah and water in a bowl. Add brisket, egg, oil, salt, fennel (if using), red pepper and black pepper. Mix with hands until combined. Shape into eight meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sprayed wire rack. Bake until browned, about 22 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a frying pan, cook garlic and oil for passata, stirring often, a minute and a half. Add crushed tomatoes, marjoram leaves, orange peel strips, salt and red pepper. Bring to a boil then remove from heat.
- Transfer meatballs to tomato passata in frying pan. Garnish with crumbled matzot, fresh marjoram leaves and chile oil. Serve warm.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.