Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on September 16. Although no work is permitted on this day, this certainly doesn’t mean there is no feasting. Here I’ve gathered a selection of all my favourite recipes for a traditional festive dinner. From brisket to kugel, I’ve got you covered.
One of the customary treats on Rosh Hashanah is apples dipped in honey, a delicious snack at any time, and especially now that local apples are literally falling off the tree, and Ontario boasts many amazing aviaries producing stellar liquid gold. Like the fine folks at Munro Honey in Lambton, whose clover honey is the perfect accompaniment to a juicy, crisp McIntosh, or any of the more hard to find varieties like the rare Red Astrachan that are grown at the Spadina Museum Gardens.
Apples and honey symbolize a sweet New Year, and are often served with round challah bread, symbolizing the cycle of the new year. Tzimmes, an Ashkenazi sweet stew often made with dried fruit is also a favourite dish on Rosh Hashannah. Carrots, sliced into rounds to symbolize gold coins-and the promise of prosperity –are often added to the stew.
The elaborate preparation, it has been suggested, has spawned the Yinglish expression, “To make a big tzimmes out of something,” meaning, to make a lot of fuss. This is my favourite recipe, from Martha Stewart. She uses sweet potato, prunes and apricots in this dish, along with the carrots.
Another good recipe comes from The Shiksa in the Kitchen site, where she uses yams, white sweet potato, cranberry and dried apple in a stovetop version, always helpful during the holidays when oven space is at a premium.
Noodle Kugel is other delicacy that is often served to celebrate the New Year. This baked pudding is served as a side dish, and there are countless variations of Kugel, most are sweet, and some savory, made with egg noodles, sour cream and cream cheese. We like this recipe by Lisa Share-Sapolsky, who replaced the sugar with honey and won first prize with it at L.A.’s Yiddishkayt. I also love this version from Smitten Kitchen that incorporates dried cherries into the dish and this savory version from Saveur is dynamite.
Now, what would a proper Rosh Hoshanah spread be without a little brisket and roast chicken? Chatelaine’s food editor, Amy Rosen, has you covered in the brisket department. She calls for Coca Cola, Lipton’s onion soup mix and apricot jam in her recipe but don’t get nervous, she knows what she’s doing, just follow her instructions to brisket-y bliss. Rosen is a great writer, to get in the holiday spirit read this lovely piece about her Bub Fran that was published by Canada Writes last year..
For a perfect roast chicken I suggest you listen to Jamie Oliver, he’s got all the tips and pointers you need to get a crispy skinned juicy bird on the table. From prep to cooking to carving, this is the ultimate roast chicken recipe.
The High Holidays are here, enjoy family, friends and most importantly, lots and lots of food. L’shanah tovah!