Cinnamon twists—a sweet treat for a sweet new year. Photo by Victoria Marshman.
Recipes: Rosh Hashanah Dinner
A Hearty Dinner For A Holy Jewish Holiday
Rosh Hashanah dinner is a celebration of the Jewish New Year. After you’ve had your fill of apples and honey*, a traditional treat, try these recipes, which are courtesy of Doris Schechter, New York restaurateur and owner of the kosher restaurant, My Most Favorite Food. Her recent book, At Oma’s Table, explores her Jewish family’s heritage through the foods that she, her mother and her grandmother (Oma) have cooked.
*Honey is symbolic of the “sweet” new year to come.
On the menu at Oma’s table:
Also see a separate recipe for Chocolate Cappuccino Noodle Kugel.
There’s nothing like a bowl of grandma’s chicken soup. Instead of soup noodles, try the recipe with matzo balls or farina dumpings.
- 4 pounds of chicken, rinsed, giblets included, livers removed
and discarded (save for another purpose)†
- Coarse kosher salt, to taste
- 3 large carrots, peeled
- 3 large celery stalks, trimmed
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled
- 1 large parsnip, peeled
- 1 large turnip, peeled
- 1 large onion, unpeeled
- 8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 handful fresh parsley sprigs
- 1 handful fresh dill sprigs
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- Soup noodles*
*These vary by taste and family custom. Most cooks choose egg noodles, which are short and medium to broad in width, although other cuts and shapes are used. Photo of chicken soup by Odelia Cohen | BSP.
- Into a stockpot or large soup pot, pour 5 quarts (20 cups) water. Add the chicken and giblets plus 2 tablespoons kosher salt and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. As the water heats, “scrum” will rise to the surface. Skim off as much of it as possible with a large spoon.
- When most of the foam has been removed and the water is beginning to boil, add all the vegetables along with the garlic, parsley sprigs, dill sprigs and peppercorns. Cook, uncovered, at a high simmer for 45 minutes, skimming off the foam when necessary.
- After 45 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 1¼ to 1½ hours.
- Carefully remove the hot chicken from the pot to a platter. (If it falls apart, either serve it as is in pieces, or arrange it the best you can on the platter.) Cover to keep warm. Leave the vegetables in the soup pot, covered, until serving time.
- Add matzo balls, dumplings or soup noodles to the pot and allow them to heat in the soup, if needed. Taste the soup for seasonings and add salt to taste. Ladle soup into each soup plate and add carrots or other of the cooked soup vegetables, as desired. Remove the remaining vegetables to the platter of boiled chicken, and serve either whole or slice them on the platter.
†EDITOR’S NOTES: This recipe was originally written with a whole 4-pound chicken, to be cut after cooking. Today, we find that many households prefer to purchase quartered birds or white meat only, or supplement a whole bird with parts to get the mix of meat that their families and guests prefer (more breasts, more drumsticks). We’d like to add two more tips:
- The skin of boiled chicken is not particularly tempting, so to cut down on fat, for family dining, we remove all of the skin and visible fat.
- We refrigerate the soup; all the fat rises to the surface and is easy to skim off. This makes chicken soup quite a diet dish.
- It helps to make the soup a day in advance so the herbs and other flavors integrate. We like to snip additional fresh parsley and dill on top of the soup right before serving, and also to add them into the matzoh ball mix, as shown in the photo.
- Schechter’s family eats the chicken separately from the soup, but other families add the meat back into the soup, as shown here. Some people call this “chicken in the pot,” to distinguish it from chicken soup, the plain broth, or chicken soup with matzoh balls, the broth with matzoh balls.
Makes about 4½ quarts.
Note: Depending upon how many people you are serving, you may have leftovers. Schechter suggests letting the soup cool and dividing it into smaller quart-sized containers. Freeze the soup for up to 2 months.
Many families make a brisket or a roast chicken for Rosh Hashanah dinner. Meat loaf, a traditional comfort food, can also have its place when ringing in the new year.
When grating the vegetables for this recipe, grate on the small holes of a handheld box grater for the appropriate texture.
Photo by R. J. Lerich | BSP.
- 2 pounds lean ground beef (preferably a combination of half neck meat and half tenderloin)
- ½ cup bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated onion (1 medium onion)
- 1 cup grated, peeled baking potato (1 small to medium potato)
- ¾ cup grated, peeled carrot (about 3 medium carrots)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- Coarse kosher salt and fresh pepper, to taste
- 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the meat, bread crumbs, grated onion, grated potatoes and carrot, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper and 1 cup tomato sauce, using your hands. Halve the mixture and form each half into a loaf.
- Put the loaves in a 14" x 10" lasagne pan or baking pan of similar size. Scatter the chopped potatoes and onion and the sliced carrots into the pan around the loaves.
- In a large measuring cup, combine the water and the remaining 1 cup tomato sauce and pour over the loaves and vegetables. Cover the pan tightly with foil.
- Bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil, baste the loaves with the pan juices and bake 1 hour more. (If the liquid in the pan bakes off, add a little water to prevent scorching). Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing.
- To serve, cut the loaves into slices and serve with the vegetables on the side.
Makes 8 servings.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Egg noodles are a nice complement to meat loaf. If you have already served them with the soup course, consider rice or roasted potatoes. Brussels sprouts and glazed carrots are a traditional accompaniment, and make this a colorful plate.
Holiday dinners tend to be plentiful and rich, so that when dessert time comes, no one needs anything heavy. Yet, everyone wants to end the evening with something a bit sweet. These cinnamon twists are crunchy and airy—perfect for a light dessert. They can be served with ice cream or fruit salad, and are delicious plain with coffee or tea, for people who want a really light dessert. They’re actually a universal pastry—they can be served at brunch, lunch, dinner or as a snack. They’re both elegant-tasting and casual. We promise they’ll become a favorite.
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter,
- 1½ cups sugar
- 3 extra large eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons group cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder until combined.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients and beat until a dough forms.
- In a bowl, stir together the remaining ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, then spread the cinnamon sugar evenly over a baking sheet or flat surface.
- To shape the twists, measure the dough into tablespoons. Shape each tablespoon into a compact cylinder, about 2" long, then roll it with your hands on a counter top until it measure 12".
- Fold the roll in half, then twist the roll about 3 times to form a spiral. Roll the spiral gently in the cinnamon sugar, coating it completely as you maintain the spiral “rope-y” shape. (When you roll the spiral in the sugar mixture, it will lengthen by about 1".)
- Transfer each finished twist to the prepared baking sheet, leaving about ½" in-between. Continue to make twists and sugar them in the same manner.
- Bake the twists, one sheet at a time, for 15 minutes, until lightly golden. Let cool on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Store the twists in a large container, in layers separated by wax paper, for up to 1 week.
Makes about 44 cookies, each 7 inches long.