chef ilan niv.
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The Jewish holiday season that starts with Rosh Hashana and ends with Succot might not be associated with restaurants, but it does resonate with a long parade of holiday meals. So we asked a number of celebrity chefs to share with us a (relatively) simple recipe for a dish they would bring to the family feast.
Ronnen Cohen (Pacific)
For Ronnen Cohen, the managing chef of Pacific restaurant at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Tel Aviv, variety and diversity in the holiday meal are key. "You can surprise the guests by offering plenty of dishes that aren't traditional holiday fare," says Ronnen. The staple gefilte fish can be replaced with a grouper seasoned with oriental spices, while the time-honored soup with kneidelach (matza balls) can be served in martini glasses. As for the customary apple, try this year to cut it into halves, scoop it with a spoon and pour the honey inside. It doesn't take much effort to wow the entire family with simple and surprising recipes.
Tom Yam Kai
A variation on the traditional chicken soup
300 gr chicken bones
1 large onion
1 large carrot
Small piece of ginger
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
Bunch of coriander
Slice all the vegetables, place in a large pot together with the chicken bones and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil; cook for an hour on low heat, then strain.
1 chicken breast sliced into thin strips
100 gr. Iceberg lettuce cut into strips
30 gr champinion mushrooms (sliced)
30 gr Yarden mushrooms (sliced)
1 carrot sliced into thin strips
1/2 cup coconut milk
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp. sweet chili sauce
Add the vegetables and chili sauce to the stock and cook for 30 minutes on low heat, then add the chicken strips, the lemon and the coconut milk and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with coriander.
Ilan Niv (Meat & Wine)
"Rosh Hashana always brings out sweet memories that encourage me to create new recipes connected to the holiday," says Ilan Niv, executive chef of Herzliya's excellent kosher Meat & Wine restaurant. His Cornish hen recipe is inspired by his time working for the fabled Auberge de l'Ill restaurant in the Alsace region of France, known for its good hunting. Chef Marc Haeberlin would buy a small Barbary duck from local hunters, wrap it in a mixture of spices and honey, and roast it in the oven. The duck would be served in two separate entrees. The first would be the breast, and then later the customer would receive the thigh. While two-stage serving is all very well for a three-star Michelin restaurant, it won't do for a family holiday meal. "I've decided to use Cornish hen instead, which has a more delicate flavor, is easier to serve and constitutes an individual portion for each diner."
Cornish hens roasted in honey and herbs with red cabbage and figs
1 large Cornish hen
150 gr. honey
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1 Tbsp. black pepper (ground)
1 Tbsp. coriander seeds
1/4 tsp. caraway seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 tsp salt
For the cabbage:
2 medium red cabbages
10 dried figs, quartered
1 medium onion
1 cup red wine
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Day before: Cut up the cabbage into thin strips and mix well with the sugar, the vinegar and a bit of the salt. Leave overnight in the fridge.
The next day: Cut up the onion into thin strips and fry with olive oil for three minutes. Add the cabbage and the figs. Add wine and cook three minutes. Cover in aluminum foil and put in the oven at 150 Celsius for an hour and a half or until the cabbage softens.
Mix the honey, soy sauce and spices (if the honey gets too thick, it can be heated a bit). Salt the hen a bit and coat with the honey/spice mixture. Roast in the oven at 200 Celsius for 50 minutes (you can continue spreading the mixture on the hen every so often for a richer coating). Serve the hen with the baked cabbage. White rice or roasted potatoes can be added.
(The honey/spice mixture can be prepared a week in advance, and the cabbage three days ahead.)
Omer Ben Gal (Lilit)
Talented chef Omer Ben Gal is the executive chef at Lilit, a reputed kosher restaurant in Tel Aviv. On erev Rosh Hashana 2000, when Omer was living in a little village at the Dominican Republic, a few villagers who drove by with a pick-up truck offered him the head of a veal for only 100 pesos. Omer took them up on the offer and cooked the veal for the holiday meal. Since then, he evolved his own recipe for a brilliant dish, which has become his Rosh Hashana favorite.
Veal cheek stew with squash and chickpeas
1/2 cup olive oil
2 kg. veal cheek diced
2 large onions thinly sliced
2 carrots grated
2 garlic cloves peeled and hand-crushed
1/2 chili pepper sliced
1 cup coriander
2 kg squash, peeled and diced into 3cm cubes
200 gr. chickpeas (soaked overnight with water and 1 tsp. baking soda)
1 kg. tomatoes roughly chopped
1 kg. marrow bones
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat the olive oil and fry the onions and carrots on a low heat until golden brown and set aside. With a little oil, sear the meat and season with salt and pepper. Add the onions and carrots to the meat, cover with water and add the chickpeas and tomatoes. Cook about 2 hours until the meat is tender. Add the squash 20 minutes before the stew is done, and put in the coriander just before turning off the gas.
Ilan Siboni (Darna)
Moroccan-born Ilan Siboni is the chef and owner of Darna restaurant in Jerusalem. Siboni, who arrived from Casablanca in 1968, is a graduate of a high culinary institute in Morocco where chefs are trained to cook for the king. Patrons at Darna are rewarded with a Moroccan dining and cultural experience. From the staff's traditional customs to the decorated dishes, from the interiors to the authentic food served, the attention is for the smallest detail.
Mutton tagine with quince and pomegranate
The tagine is a special pot made of clay traditionally used by the nomads as portable ovens over charcoal or braziers, for making stews usually containing meat. The tagine consists of two parts: the bottom, which is flat and circular with low sides; and a large cone or dome-shaped cover that rests inside the bottom during cooking.
The sweetness of the quince and pomegranate harmoniously combines with the aroma and taste of the lamb which, at this time of the year, is young and tender.
1.6 kg. mutton shoulder cut around the bone to 4 cm slices
1/2 kg chopped onion
1 kg quince
16 dried plums soaked in red wine
1 tsp. sesame
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. white pepper
A few saffron threads
1 cup oil
1 cup sugar
3 cinnamon sticks
Place the veal and onions in the tagine and add salt, ginger, saffron, pepper, oil, and cover with water. Cover with the tagine and bring to a boil, then cook on low heat for an hour.
Meanwhile, cut the quinces and cook with the sugar for 15 minutes; add water if necessary and cook for another 30 minutes. Roll the plums in the sesame and add to the tagine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds before serving.