Thursday, September 13, 2012

Suggestions for Delicious and Meaningful Rosh Hashanah Meals -- With Rabbi Frydman's Friend Neal's Brisket Recipe

Some of the symbolic foods of the Rosh Hashanah Seder
Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year, sometimes spelled Rosh Hashana) is almost upon us and I thought I would do a little round up of High Holiday tips and recipes.

The first is my most recent compilation of  holiday recipes from the j. weekly.  At the j's suggestion, I interviewed rabbis who cook for some of their recipes and for some of the ways food adds meaning to their teachings as well as dining tables. The recipes give directions for a salad full of foods symbolic of the holiday blessings, a vegetarian pumpkin and chickpea entree and frosted brownies plus a vegan cholent for the break fast.

I had so many good responses from rabbis in the Bay area, the j. did not have room for all, so I wanted to be sure I got a chance to share Rabbi Pam Frydman's recipe for an easy, tasty brisket recipe.  Frydman was a congregational rabbi and is now director of the Holocaust Education Project of the Academy of Jewish Religion. She is also an author, with several books in the works, including a Holiday prayer book revision. Frydman’s menu for her holiday dinner includes a brisket recipe she got from her friend, Neal.
“Like all Jewish mothers, I make sure there is something appealing for every guest at my table,” she said. Like the other rabbis, she sees serving foods guests of all ages love as “a wonderful way to sweeten their relationship” with the holidays and a perfect recipe for the New Year.
The recipe is below.
Other Rosh Hashanah resources include:
My guide to the Rosh Hashanah Seder -- with a list of symbolic foods and their meanings
Recipes using some of the foods mentioned as having symbolic meaning at the holiday, including leek fritters, chicken tzimmes, chicken with chard, black-eyed peas, a pumpkin-date filo tart and more.
Everyone needs a chopped liver recipe:  here's my original version.  And here is one that is somewhat enlightened with a bit less cholesterol. 
Instead of gefilte fish, maybe try this gravlax recipe for home-cured salmon. Or perhaps this chopped herring salad from my husband's Aunt Lee.  It was so good it had grown men begging for more.
These Greek-Jewish inspired recipes include a fuss-free oregano baked chicken.
Here's a recipe for a one-pot dish -- Chicken with Barley
While I usually make a brisket for the holidays, the technique I use to cook it is in Pot Roast 101 with a recipe for tamarind pot roast.  (Plus a pot roast, which is very much like a brisket without the Yiddish accent, would be just fine for a holiday table.  I like to use a bone-in chuck roast.)
For another pot roast recipe that can be adapted for brisket, check out my zippy pot roast with cranberry sauce.
This grilled lamb would make a nice holiday entree.  It is based on some of the food traditions of the Karaite Egyptian Jewish community.
For an excellent vegetarian "Not Chicken Soup" and some beautiful vegan matzah balls (I call them matzofu balls), check out my recent j. weekly column here.
I'm a big fan of these red peppers stuffed with lentils with two sauces.  I've used it as a main course and as a side dish. (And the garlic sauce you make for it is killer!)
If you are looking for something to plop in the soup that gluten-free guests can slurp up, I recommend these chicken-almond dumplings.
Sweet and sour butternut squash is another side dish that works well for the holiday, plus it is really quick to make since it is based on a convenience food -- those cut-up cubes of butternut squash that are found in bags and plastic cartons in the refrigerated produce sections of most supermarkets now.
There are plenty more ideas throughout Blog Appetit, including lots of posts in the Jewish category.  Take a look around.  Find something you like, try it.  Let me know how it comes out.
Oh, and Happy New Year.
As promised Rabbi Frydman's brisket recipe:
Rabbi Frydman’s Friend Neal’s Brisket
Serves 8-10

3 1/2 to 4 lbs. beef brisket
About 5 peeled garlic cloves
1 oz. packet of onion soup mix
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
Soy sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut off any large chunks of fat from the brisket, rinse meat under running water and place in baking pan with a well-fitting lid. Slice garlic cloves in half lengthwise. Using a paring knife, cut a series of small slits in the meat, spacing them every four inches. Slit should be deep enough to enclose the entire garlic clove half.  Insert garlic clove halves into slits, turn meat over and repeat on the other side. Rub onion soup mix all over top side of the meat. If brisket is large, fold it and slather some of the mix on the top of the folded portion as well. Sprinkle with pepper. Squirt a few thick lines of ketchup on top of the meat from one end of the brisket to the other. Drizzle soy sauce from one end of brisket to the other parallel to the ketchup lines.

Pour water along the sides of the pan until there is a half inch of water along the bottom, being careful not to wash off the seasoning on the meat. Cover pan and place on a rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove, gently baste meat and add additional water if needed. Repeat every 30 minutes until the brisket is tender and a fork goes in easily. Depending on your pan and brisket, that can vary greatly and take about 2-3 1/2 hours or more.
Remove from oven, let cook, slice against the grain of the meat. Serve or store meat in the cooking liquid. Refrigerate if not using immediately. Warm brisket in reserved cooking liquid in 350 degree oven.

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