If you are in planning mode for your family’s High Holiday meals, you are not alone – even famous chefs do a lot of planning, and here’s what they will be serving. Take a cue from these recipes and add some chef-worthy dishes to your holiday menu this year.
Grandma Sali’s Holiday Soup
Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston, TX
“For Rash Hashanah, I always have ‘holiday soup.’ It is a dish that my Grandma Sali made for every Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, it has a long tradition on my family,” says Ziggy Gruber of Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston. “It started off our meal and is a hearty soup with flanken (short ribs) in it, and it is just addictive with each and every bite. She only made it for the holidays, so you were always looking forward to the holidays coming. It is so special to us, and we still make it every holiday in my family. Other things we always have for Rosh Hashanah are challah-stuffed veal chops, kasha varnishkes, noodle kugel, Manischewitz-braised short ribs and stuffed cabbage.”
- 3 lbs flanken (short ribs cut in 1/2)
- 8-10 mushrooms, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cups diced carrots
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 cup medium barley
- 1 cup pearled barley
- 1/2 cup of lima beans
- 3 quarts of water
- 1 Tbsp salt
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 tsp granulated garlic
- In a large pot combine all the ingredients, cover and bring to a boil.
- Turn down the heat and simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Adjust seasoning if needed. Serve hot.
Mom’s Chicken with Pomegranate and Walnuts
Chef Einat Admony of Taim, Balaboosta and Bar Bolonat in New York City
This recipe, inspired by Admony’s mother, is excerpted with permission from her first cookbook Balaboosta.
- 2 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
- 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 3 Tbs canola oil
- 2 cups toasted walnuts
- Pinch of saffron threads (optional)
- 1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
- 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- Place a large pot over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. While the pot is heating, pat the chicken dry and season with the cumin, turmeric, salt and pepper.
- In a small bowl whisk together the pomegranate molasses, pomegranate juice and honey.
- Add the oil to the pot and add the chicken. Brown the chicken on all sides. Overcrowding the pot will steam the chicken instead of searing it.
- Add the pomegranate juice mixture and stir in the walnuts and the saffron.
- Place a lid on the pot and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to simmer for 45 minutes. Uncover and reduce the sauce for another 45 minutes. Remove from the heat and take the pot straight to the table for a family-style meal.
Chocolate Babka Bread Pudding
Chef Susan Gould, Finagle a Bagel, Multiple Locations in Massachusetts
“There is no better way to celebrate the coming of the new year than to share a love of food with family and friends. The aroma of chocolate babka baking is a sign that the holidays are here. This recipe calls for the balancing of two favorite flavors: cinnamon and chocolate. Last year, Finagle a Bagel opened up a test kitchen at its headquarters in Newton, Massachusetts, giving us the opportunity to create our own chocolate babka for the community. We always look forward to this time of year.” — Susan Gould, head baker at Finagle A Bagel
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tbs (1/4 stick) unsalted melted butter, more for greasing pan
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon
- 1⁄4 tsp nutmeg
- 1⁄3 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1⁄2 loaf Finagle’s Chocolate Babka, cut into 2-inch cubes (about 5 to 6 cups)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- In a large bowl, combine milk, cream, melted butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, sugar and salt. Add eggs to milk mixture and whisk.
- Add babka cubes to milk mixture and let rest for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, butter a 4-to-6-cup baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees while mixture is resting.
- Turn babka mixture into buttered dish.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until custard is set but still a little wobbly and edges of bread have browned. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Kreplach for Chicken Soup
Jennie Grossinger, The Art of Jewish Cooking
While the Grossinger family prepares this recipe for the pre-Yom Kippur meal, many families enjoy kreplach in their chicken soup for Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot.
“Here is life’s irony: Yom Kippur is traditionally known as a Jewish fast day. But equally as important is the custom of consuming a large meal before the fast. And many Jewish people eat kreplach, the Yiddish dumpling delicacies with fillings of ground meat or chicken, without knowing why. After all, it is a tradition, and a tasty one at that,” says Elaine Grossinger Etess, daughter of the famous hotelier and cookbook writer Jennie Grossinger, of her mom’s famous kreplach recipe.
It is time, however, to unwrap the kreplach mystery. There are many kabbalistic interpretations where the filling and dough represent divine attributes of G-d. But Rabbi Edward David of the Young Israel of Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale offers the most logical explanation: “Once you get three or four interpretations, you know that the source material is nebulous. Bottom line is that we do it because if feels good, or in this case, tastes good.”
Kreplach are traditionally made with a ground meat filling and were the choice accompaniment to the chicken soup served each year at the traditional dinner before the fast at the legendary Grossinger’s Catskills Resort. Note: This recipes make 24 or more kreplach, depending on how thin you roll the dough.
For the kreplach dough:
- 2 cups flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp water
- ½ tsp salt
For the meat filling:
- 1 Tbsp chicken fat
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ cup minced onion
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
For the kasha filling:
- 1 cup minced onions
- 3 Tbsp chicken fat or butter
- 1 ½ cups cooked kasha
- ¼ tsp pepper
To make the meat filling: Heat the chicken fat in a skillet. Cook the meat and onions in the fat for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the salt and pepper. Cool before placing filling in the squares of dough.
To make the kasha filling: Lightly brown the onion in the fat. Stir in the kasha and the pepper. Cool before placing filling in the squares of dough.
To make the kreplach dough:
- Place unsifted flour on a board and make a well in the center. Drop the eggs, water, & salt into the well. Work into the flour with one hand & knead until smooth & elastic.
- Roll and stretch the dough as thin as possible. (The thinner it is, the better the dough.) Let the rolled dough stand until it feels dry to the touch. (But don’t let it get too dry.)
- Cut into 3-inch squares and place a tablespoon of filling on each square.
- Fold over dough into a triangle and press edges together with a little bit of water.
- Cook in boiling salted water or soup for 20 minutes, or until they rise to the top. Drain, if cooked in water. They can be fried or served immediately in the soup.
Anna Gershenson, The Natural Cook with Anna Gershenson
Anna Gershenson may not make this recipe every year for Rosh Hashanah, but it connects her deeply to her mother, who passed away right before the holiday 19 years ago. “This recipe is special because of its connection to my mom. She would never make them (tayglach) when we lived in Riga, but instead would order from a Jewish lady who specialized in them. When she knew she would be immigrating out of the country she asked that lady to teach her, and she had been making it in America ever since. I would come to her apartment to help her make them and learn, of course.”
Note: The tayglach will stay fresh for a couple of days, or freeze them for longer storage.
For the dough:
- 6 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
For the syrup:
- 12 ounces honey
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs until mixed well. Add sugar, oil and vanilla and continue beating to incorporate. Mix in the baking powder and salt. Gradually add enough flour to make a thick dough. On a floured board knead the dough adding more flour as necessary. The dough should be soft and not sticky.
- Cut off a quarter of the dough and roll it into a rope half inch thick. Cut it into 3-inch links and tie each link into a knot. Repeat in the same fashion with the rest of the dough. Place the formed knots on the lightly floured the board without touching. Cover them with a cloth towel or plastic wrap to prevent from drying out.
- In a wide 4-quart pot, combine honey sugar and water. Cook over medium-high heat stirring continuously until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup comes to a boil. Add ground ginger and continue cooking for another 10 minutes or longer until the syrup gets more amber color. Keep skimming off the foam.
- Place little knots into the boiling syrup, one at a time. Bring the syrup back to boil, cover with a lid and keep cooking for 20 minutes without disturbing it.
- Adjust the heat accordingly, making sure the syrup is boiling at all times.
- After 20 minutes, remove the lid and stir with a wooden spoon. Keep cooking and stirring until you see tayglach turn dark golden brown. You might need to rotate them during cooking to ensure they are colored evenly.
- It is helpful to measure the syrup temperature with candy thermometer to determine readiness. It should reach the hard crack stage of 300 degrees Fahrenheit. If cooked correctly, tayglach will not be sticky after they cool completely.
- Remove the pot from heat and immediately place ready tayglach on a marble board or baking sheet moistened with oil to prevent them from sticking. Cool and store in a covered container.
Makes about 30.