How to Conquer Your Passover Fearless Cooking
8 Ways to Embrace Your Passover Treasures in Food
Countdown to Passover, an important holiday for Jews everywhere. We commemorate a pinnacle biblical moment; fleeing slavery in Egypt to journey to the promised land. Ritually, families remove all leavened products and legumes like beans. Instead, they eat matzo daily. Like most holidays, food is center stage. Check out Kitchology’s Eat.Better app for meal suggestions.
The Seder allows a representational retelling of the Exodus from Egypt and the story of the ancient rabbis who wrote the Haggadah. This Jewish ritual feast marks the beginning of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Typically, this plated ceremony is usually in the middle of the table for all eyes to focus on it. The dish itself has the name Seder Plate.
The traditional foods on the Seder Plate
- Maror – a bitter herb, often horseradish, or bitter greens like chicory or endive. This uncomfortably hot flavor invokes the bitterness of slavery. (You can see people taking a “maror challenge” using unbearably hot horseradish here.)
- Chazeret – a bitter vegetable or green, often Romaine lettuce. Another symbol of the bitterness of slavery, it’s used in a different part of the seder than the Maror.
- Karpas – a leafy green, very often parsley. Represents the rebirth of spring.
- Bay-tzah – a roasted egg. A symbol of the rebirth of spring and the national birth, or rebirth, of Jews freed from their bondage. The roasting recalls the Passover sacrifice brought to the Temple in Jerusalem in ancient times.
- Z’roah – a shank bone of a lamb. Represents the Passover offering of a lamb made at the ancient Temple in Jerusalem in the early spring. Sometimes, a chicken neck is substituted. In vegetarian homes, a beet or a carrot would work as well.
- Charoset is a sweet, thick or chunky fruit and nut spread. It symbolizes the mortar Jewish slaves used when forced into hard labor building cities and brick buildings for the Pharaohs. Jews of European descent usually choose apples, nuts, honey, sweet wine and cinnamon. Jews from other lands have other ingredients. Either way, it’s always ground or chopped to resemble mortar, and is usually brown in overall color.
Don’t forget the Passover Ceremonial Meal
That’s not all! A ceremonial meal also accompanies the Seder Plate. The most welcome dish is chicken soup with matzo balls. I follow the traditional matzo balls recipe using matzo meal cooked in chicken broth. Can’t finish them all? Make a big batch and freeze them. Here’s my traditional recipe for Jewish Chicken Soup.
Next up is a brisket. The Israeli style incorporates lots of onions, carrots, apricots, prunes and perhaps a little wine. Add potatoes to complete the meal. Make the brisket in a crockpot one day ahead. That way the ingredients’ aromas surge after an initial fridge cool down. Then, reheat just prior to serving. The improved flavor is as celebratory as the holiday itself! Find these tips in my Brisket Recipe.
Let’s not forget the desserts.
My family favorite is the Sponge Cake. Ideally, it should be feather light, airy, moist and tall. Enjoy a variation in How to Conquer Your Passover Sponge Cake Anxiety.
Happy #Passover to all celebrants! Share your cooking tips and recipe treasures with us @kitchology and @kitchenchick123.