Pascale's Kitchen: Seder Night

This year I have prepared for you a nice assortment of dishes that are traditionally prepared for Seder night. As the first night of Passover is one of the most important events in the Jewish calendar, it is common to invest great time and effort in preparing tasty traditional dishes for this special evening.

Pascale's recipes for the 2021 Seder (photo credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)
Pascale's recipes for the 2021 Seder
(photo credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)
 Once again we find ourselves at the eve of Passover. Although we are still in the midst of the pandemic, we are lucky that some restrictions have been lifted and we are allowed to enjoy Seder night with close family and friends so long as we follow health guidelines. 
This year I have prepared for you a nice assortment of dishes that are traditionally prepared for Seder night. As the first night of Passover is one of the most important events in the Jewish calendar, it is common to invest great time and effort in preparing tasty traditional dishes for this special evening. The recipes below are all easy to prepare and do not require any special ingredients. 

Learn more about Pascale's Kitchen here>>


The first dish is charoset, which is one of the most important symbolic foods served on Seder night. It can be made from fresh, dried, cooked or grated fruit. Some communities serve date balls covered with nuts, while others serve charoset prepared as a spread. There are many different recipes from Persian, Yemenite or Ashkenazi communities. One explanation of this custom is that charoset represents the mortar used to make bricks by our ancestors when they were slaves in ancient Egypt. Below you will find a version from Moroccan cuisine that my family uses. 
The second recipe is a recipe for traditional Ashkenazi chicken soup with kneidlach (matzah balls) that come out light and fluffy like clouds and melt in your mouth. 
Next, I’ve included a recipe for chopped liver, which is one of my family’s favorites. In addition, there are recipes for chrain (horseradish), chicken salad and kosher-for-Passover rolls.
Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Passover!

Pascale's charoset (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)Pascale's charoset (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)

CHAROSET

Makes 6-8 servings.
300 gr. dates, ground
6 Tbsp. water
½-¾ cup sweet red wine
½ cup hazelnuts, ground
½ cup almonds, ground
10 chestnuts, ground
½ tsp. cinnamon, ground
½ tsp. cloves, ground
Add the dates, water and wine to a pot and heat over a low flame. Stir until mixed well. Add the hazelnuts, almonds and chestnuts and mix well. Add the cinnamon and cloves and mix well. Remove from the flame.
Level of difficulty: Easy. 
Time: 20 minutes. 
Status: Pareve.
 

 Pascale's Chicken soup and matzah balls (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ) Pascale's Chicken soup and matzah balls (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)

CHICKEN SOUP WITH MATZAH BALLS

Chicken soup is known as food for the soul, the penicillin used by Jewish moms the world over. The recipe may change from one community to another, but the foundation remains the same: chicken, vegetables, seasoning, slow cooking over a few hours, and lots of love. Some people serve their chicken soup with kneidlach (matzah balls) in memory of the stones the Children of Israel had to lift in ancient Egypt. There are a number of techniques for preparing kneidlach. Some people mix in whole eggs, while others beat the egg whites separately to make the balls fluffier. Below, you’ll find my favorite recipe for matzah balls. 
Makes 6-8 servings.
5 pieces of chicken, cleaned, rinsed and drained
4 chicken wings and 2 necks, cleaned, rinsed and drained
5 carrots, peeled, rinsed and cut into big pieces
2 large onions, peeled, rinsed and cut into quarters
1 celery root, peeled, with leaves
1 parsnip, peeled, with leaves
4 stalks of celery with leaves
A bunch of parsley, rinsed and chopped finely
10 sprigs of dill
Salt and pepper, to taste
Matzah balls
Makes 20.
¾ cup matzah meal
1 cup water or soup
1 Tbsp. oil
½ tsp. salt
1-2 eggs
White pepper with a little ginger (optional)
To prepare the soup, fill a large pot half full with water. Add all the chicken pieces and bring to a boil over a medium flame. Strain the chicken pieces and rinse well. 
Put the chicken pieces back in the pot and pour in water to cover. Bring to a boil and then lower the flame and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the scum and fat floating on the surface and continue cooking. Add the carrots, onion, parsnips, celery stalks, salt and pepper and cook for 90 minutes. Remove any more scum and fat that has gathered on top. Add the parsley and dill and cook another 10 minutes. Drain the soup. Keep any of the chicken pieces you’d like to serve separately and the carrots. 
To prepare the kneidlach, place the flour in a bowl and add the water while stirring. Add the oil, salt and eggs. Alternatively, you could add just the egg yolks and beat the egg whites separately before adding them. Add the pepper and ginger and mix well. Let the mixture sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. 
Fill a pot with water so that it’s ¾ full and bring to a boil. Using wet hands, take spoonfuls of the matzah-ball mixture and form balls with a 4-5 cm. (<2 inch) diameter. Place the balls in the boiling water. Cook for 20-30 minutes in a covered pot. Drain and serve with chicken soup.
Level of difficulty: Medium. 
Time: 2 hours. 
Status: Meat.
 Pascale's horseradish (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ ) Pascale's horseradish (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ )

CHRAIN (HORSERADISH)

Chrain, which is grated horseradish, is strong and spicy and is usually served with beef or gefilte fish. Chrain can be slightly bitter and so some people mix it with beets, which makes the taste less intense. Chrain all by itself is called white chrain, whereas chrain with beets is called red chrain. Some people prefer a sweeter version of chrain that is mixed with grated Granny Smith apples. 
Makes 1 medium jar.
5 medium beets
100 gr. horseradish 
½ tsp. salt
½ cup apple vinegar
2 Tbsp. sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cook the beets in water over a medium flame for 30 minutes. Drain and peel. Grate beets finely.
Peel the horseradish and rinse well. Grate finely. 
Mix the beets with the horseradish. Add the salt, vinegar, sugar and pepper. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. 
Level of difficulty: Easy. 
Time: 30 minutes. 
Status: Pareve.
Pascale's chopped liver (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)Pascale's chopped liver (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)

GEHAKTE LEBER (CHOPPED LIVER)

Gehakte leber is one of the most famous dishes coming out of Eastern European Jewish cuisine, and there are many versions. Once you find the ultimate version, it’s very easy to become addicted to this dish, as I have. 
Makes 8-10 servings. 
500 gr. whole chicken livers, cleaned
3-4 medium onions, sliced or chopped
Oil for frying
4 hard-boiled eggs
½ cup goose fat
Salt and pepper to taste
Serving suggestion: 
1 scallion, chopped
Roast the liver over an open flame. Be careful not to scorch it, just sear all the surface of the liver, but leave it soft inside. 
Fry the onions in oil until they turn golden brown, then drain excess oil. Fry the liver pieces and drain. Grind the liver in a food processor together with the onions and eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Add the goose fat and mix again. Transfer to a container and store in the fridge. 
To serve, spread on a dish and adorn with scallion pieces. 
Level of difficulty: Medium. 
Time: 30 minutes.
Status: Meat.
 Pascale's CHICKEN BREAST, CELERY AND DRIED FRUIT SALAD (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ) Pascale's CHICKEN BREAST, CELERY AND DRIED FRUIT SALAD (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)

CHICKEN BREAST, CELERY AND DRIED FRUIT SALAD

This refreshing salad is the perfect addition to any holiday meal.
Makes 6-8 servings. 
2 celery roots
250 gr. cooked chicken breast, cut into strips
150 gr. dried apricots, cut into thin strips
100 peeled almonds, chopped and roasted
½ cup sliced scallions
1½ cups celery leaves, chopped finely
Salad dressing: 
2 Tbsp. corn oil 
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
4 Tbsp. orange liqueur
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
Salt and white pepper, to taste
½ tsp. curry powder
Cook the celery roots in water for 10 minutes until they soften. Slice them into strips that are ½ cm. x 2 cm (¼” x ¾”). 
Place them in a glass bowl and add the chicken, apricots, almonds, onion and celery leaves. 
Shake the salad dressing ingredients in a closed jar and then pour over salad. Mix gently and let sit for an hour to absorb flavors. 
Level of difficulty: Easy. 
Time: 20 minutes. 
Status: Pareve.
Pascale' Passover rolls (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)Pascale' Passover rolls (Photo Credit: PASCALE PERETZ-RUBIN AND DROR KATZ)

PASSOVER ROLLS

Since we are not permitted to eat bread on Passover, we have to get creative. There are numerous recipes for kosher for Passover rolls and below you will find my favorite one. In order for the rolls to come out well, you need to make sure not to open the oven door at all while they are baking. When they are done, let them cool down inside the oven with the door propped open a little to let the steam out. 

Makes 20 rolls.
2 cups water
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup oil
50 gr. margarine, butter or oil
2 cups matzah meal
6 eggs
Boil water in a pot. Add the salt, oil and margarine and bring back to a boil. 
Add the matzah meal and stir until dough falls away from the side of the pot. Remove from the flame and let cool, mixing every so often. 
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each one. Mix until smooth. Let sit for 30 minutes. 
With wet hands, form small rolls and arrange them with space between each one on a tray covered with baking paper. Using scissors, make two cuts in the form of a small X in the rolls. 
Bake for 30 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 180°C (355°F). Turn off oven, prop the door of the oven open a tiny bit and let the rolls cool down for 10 minutes. 
Level of difficulty: Easy. 
Time: 90 minutes, including cooling time.
Status: Pareve (or dairy if using butter).
Translated by Hannah Hochner.