The New Passover Menu

  • Review
By – March 27, 2015

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 (2333-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 913-inch (2333-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.

Discussion Questions