What memories! I remember the big wooden barrel in the cellar filled with all the dishes, pots and pans we would use for Pesach. The numerous trips up and down the stairs with our big wicker laundry basket to get it all up to the kitchen. The Kosher L'Pesach soup almonds that got soggy the minute they hit the soup. The enormous feast Seder night. The glass wine bottle that went "glug, glug" upon filling all the wine glasses. And the matzah brei (fried matzah) that we could eat every morning when we were not eating matzah meal pancakes.
My kids also have their own memories, as will their kids. May th e Mashiach come quickly in our time.
For the "secrets of the chef," I have chosen to give you my wife's famous pot roast recipe, as well as a few great chicken recipes for the top of the stove. And, of course, a recipe for the all-important matzah brei.
One of my biggest "secrets of the chef" for Pesach is Aish HaTorah's The Kosher for Pesach Cookbook. This is a wonderful work prepared by the Aish HaTorah Women's Organization, especially Mrs. Rena Novack, Mrs. Ellen Jaffe, Rebbetzin Devorah Eisenbach and Rebbetzin Dena Weinberg. This little, often unnoticed, cookbook is all you really need for Pesach, available at Jewish bookstores everywhere.
On Seder Night, Ashkenazim have the custom of not eating roasted meat. The reason stated for this custom is that one should not assume in error that he is eating the Passover Sacrifice, which was roasted. The custom includes meat and poultry. The Minhag includes not eating meat whether roasted, barbecued, or broiled over an open fire and meat roasted in a pot without any liquid added, i.e. any heat without water. Meat which is roasted and then cooked is permissible. So meat or poultry cooked with dry heat, no water added, should be avoided. Here are three recipes that solve the problem.
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Mrs. Arnow's Famous Pot Roast
Medium size roast beef or beef roll
5 onions cut into quarters
5 cloves of garlic, whole
2-4 bay leaves
1/2 cup vegetable stock, chicken stock or water
2 tbsps. vinegar, or juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup red wine
dash of salt
3 tbsps. ketchup
1/2 cup raisins
8 potatoes, cut into 1/8'ths
Brown meat, then add and brown onions and garlic. Add bay leaves and 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken stock (or soup mix & water) or water to cover the bottom of the pot. Cover and simmer (low heat) for 1 hour. (Turn now and then).
Add cut-up potatoes. Add 2 tbsps. vinegar or juice of 1 lemon, 1 tbsp. brown sugar, and 1/2 cup red wine. Cook for 1 hour.
Add a little salt, 3 tbsps. ketchup, 1/2 cup raisins. Cook for 1/2 hour or until tender beyond a doubt.
Remove meat from sauce when it becomes cold the next day. Slice to individual portions. When sauce cools, remove the fat and heat before serving.
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Chicken Gan Eden (by Rebbetzin Devorah Eisenbach)
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsps. potato starch (optional)
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsps. honey
1 cup orange juice
2 oranges, cut into sections
Cut up chicken into serving pieces. Brown pieces in oil. Remove chicken. Put potato starch, spices, and honey into pan. Mix. Add orange juice and chicken. Cover and simmer until tender. Add orange sections.
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Chicken in Wine Sauce (by Mrs. Chaya Schwartz, in The Kosher L'Pesach Cookbook)
1 chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 onions, diced
1 cup potato flour or matzah meal
salt and pepper
1 cup wine
Saute onions (mushrooms optional). "Bread" chicken (put chicken pieces into plastic bag with matzah meal or potato flour, salt and pepper to taste, and shake so they become coated). Fry in onions and mushroom until brown. Put in pan filled with boiling water to cover chicken. Include in water 1 cup wine. Cook on top of stove on very low gas for about 2 hours.
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LAST BUT NOT LEAST...
There are dozens of ways to make Matzah Brei. This is the one I like best.
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. butter
Beat eggs with milk and salt. Break matzahs into bite-size pieces and soak in egg mixture. Fry on both sides until brown. Serve as main dish, or as dessert with cooked fruit, or sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. I like to add jelly and a little salt.
For more Passover recipes, check out Aish.com's Gourmet Passover Cooking site.