Paula Shoyer wants to liberate us from the kitchen during Passover. To this end Shoyer, author of two well-received books on baking, has expanded her repertory with The New Passover Menu, a fresh collection of Passover dishes that are not only light and contemporary but also will shorten our hours in front of the stove.
Shoyer takes inspiration from her time in France and Israel to brighten her recipes with Mediterranean overtones. Casting a broad net, she even features Peruvian Roasted Chicken with Salsa Verde at her updated Ashkenazic seder. Potato Gnocchi with Pink Sauce, Crunchy Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries, Seared Tuna with Olives and Capers, and Chicken Soup with Chicken Meatballs and Zucchini Spaghetti will bring variety to any seder table. Shoyer points out, however, that she does serve some family recipes every year so that traditions will be handed down to the next generation.
An experienced cook, Shoyer offers helpful tips and comments throughout, as well as prep time, cooking time, and an equipment list for each recipe. Many of the dishes can be prepared in advance, which is also noted; gluten-free and gebrokts recipes are flagged. The opening pages cover Passover requirements and notes on the seder. The book is organized into eight dinner menus, with suggestions for lunches, plus a section on breakfast and an attractive selection of desserts.
This is an extremely friendly and inviting book with handsome full-color photos for almost every recipe. And you needn’t confine these recipes to Passover. They will be equally appealing throughout the year. Bibliography, index. Find original Passover recipes from the book below!
Recipe: Moroccan Spiced Short Ribs
PREP TIME 5 minutes for spice rub, marinate meat for 8 hours or overnight
COOK TIME 10 minutes to sear meat, 21/2 hours to bake
ADVANCE PREP May be made 3 days in advance
EQUIPMENT: Measuring spoons • 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking pan • Small bowl • Tongs • Large heavy frying pan or outdoor grill
Of all the main course dishes that I serve to my three sons, this is the one they always request before they go away to camp and on the first Shabbat after their return. You can easily double this recipe for a crowd. I use my grill to sear the meat, but you can sear it in a heavy pan on the stovetop. Be sure to bake the short ribs until you can easily slide a fork into the meat.
4 long strips (31/2 – 4 pounds/1.5 – 2kg) top rib (flanken)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, for searing the meat in a pan
3/4 cup (180ml) barbeque sauce
1/3 cup (75ml) hot water
PLACE meat in a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33-cm) baking pan.In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, cumin, turmeric, thyme, cinnamon, salt, and pepper until well combined. Rub the spice mix all over all sides of the meat.Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
PREHEAT oven to 325°F (160°C).
YOU CAN MAKE THESE SHORT RIBS TWO WAYS.To make them on an outdoor grill, heat the grill to high heat, 550° to 600°F (280° to 300°C). Sear each side until the meat releases on its own, about 5 to 7 minutes per side, then return the ribs to the baking pan. To make the ribs on the stovetop, heat the oil in a large heavy frying pan over medium-high heat and brown the meat on all sides.
COMBINE the barbeque sauce and water in a small bowl and pour it over the meat.Season with pepper to taste. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the meat for 21/2 hours. If you’ve made the meat in advance and it is cold, remove the fat from the top before reheating. To serve, cut the ribs into 3‑inch (7‑cm) pieces. To reheat, use a fork to remove the fat from the meat and heat at 350°F (180°C) for 35 minutes.
Recipe: Chicken Soup with Chicken Meatballs and Zucchini Spaghetti
SERVES 14 – 16
PREP TIME 25 minutes
COOK TIME 2 hours, 8 minutes
ADVANCE PREP: Soup may be made 3 days in advance or frozen; meatballs may be made 1 day in advance
EQUIPMENT: Measuring cups and spoons • Large soup pot • Cutting board • Knives • Vegetable peeler • 2 medium bowls • Large sieve or strainer • Garlic press • Food processor
Like most people, I love matzoh balls. Although everyone knows me as a from-scratch baker, I am admitting here that I always make matzoh balls from the mix. After eating my mother’s matzoh balls for years, which alternated from year to year between light and fluffy and something else (I think because of variations in egg sizes), once I tried the balls from the mix, I never went back. Constant dieting has forced me to avoid them, so I developed chicken meatballs as an alternative. They even look like matzoh balls. But the traditionalists out there need not worry, as I have also provided ideas below for updating traditional matzoh balls.
For the Soup:
2 whole medium chickens, cut into pieces
2 large onions, quartered
6 carrots, peeled and cut in half
1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise in half
6 stalks celery with leaves, cut crosswise in half
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 parsnips, peeled and cut in thirds
1 fennel bulb, quartered
1 turnip, peeled and quartered
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 gallon (3.8L) water
½ bunch parsley
½ bunch dill
Salt and black pepper
For the Chicken Meatballs:
2 boneless chicken breasts (about 5 – 6 ounces each)
1/4 cup (60ml) chicken stock
2 tablespoons ground almonds or matzoh meal
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large egg
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the Garnish
2 medium zucchini, not peeled
To make the soup:
PLACE the chicken pieces in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, leek, celery, garlic, parsnips, fennel, turnip, bay leaves, and salt. Add the water and bring to a boil. Use a large spoon to skim the scum off the top of the soup. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the soup simmer, checking after 5 minutes and skimming off any additional scum. Add the parsley and dill, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Let cool. Strain through a large sieve, reserving the carrots to return to the soup when serving. Taste the soup and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
To make the meatballs
WHILE the soup is cooking, prepare the meatball mixture. In the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade attachment, mix together the chicken, stock, ground almonds, garlic, and egg until a paste forms. Add the scallions, salt, and pepper and pulse a few times to mix. Transfer the meatball mixture to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for up to 1 day, until ready to shape and cook the meatballs.
USE a spoon to scoop up the meatball batter and wet hands to shape it into 1 1/2‑inch (4‑cm) balls. Bring the strained soup to a simmer, add the meatballs, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.
To make the garnish:
MEANWHILE, prepare the zucchini “spaghetti” for the garnish. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4‑inch-thick (6‑mm) slices. Keeping the stack together, use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini into long strips. Slice the reserved cooked carrots into rounds and return them to the soup. Top each serving of soup and meatballs with some of the zucchini spaghetti.
Matzoh Ball Variations: Gebrokts
Combine your choice of any one of the following with one packet from a 5‑ounce (142g) package of matzoh ball mix to make 13 matzoh balls. Plan on 2 matzoh balls per person:
• 1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped ginger plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
• ½ teaspoon black pepper
• 1 carrot peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch (6 mm) pieces
• 1½ teaspoons mixed finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and basil
Reprinted with permission from New Passover Menu © 2015 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress.
Maron L. Waxman, retired editorial director, special projects, at the American Museum of Natural History, was also an editorial director at HarperCollins and Book-of-the-Month Club.