Food plays important role in passover celebration

Passover celebrates the journey of Jews from slavery in Egypt. It is a celebration of spring, birth and rebirth. Passover is observed for seven days. This year it will be celebrated from April 19-27.

Jewish people live throughout the world so don’t confuse Israeli food with Jewish food.

King Solomon’s Table, written by Joan Nathan, explores the history of Jewish food around the world, and some of these recipes are adapted from her book.

Sweet and sour Syrian meatballs

Dried Aleppo and Morasch chilis are mild in flavour. Substitute with dried chili flakes you have on hand.

Tamarind can be substituted with equal parts lime juice and brown sugar.

Meatballs:

  • 1/2 c. pine nuts 125 mL
  • 2 sweet onions, diced
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil 30 mL
  • 2 lbs. ground beef 1 kg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄2 c. matzo meal or bread crumbs 125 mL
  • 1⁄4 tsp. ground Aleppo or Marash pepper 1 mL
  • 1⁄2 tsp. ground cumin 2 mL
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice 5 mL
  • 1⁄4 tsp. cinnamon 1 mL
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. tamarind concentrate 5 mL
  • 2 tsp. tomato paste or ketchup 10 mL

Sauce:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil 60 mL
  • 1 diced onion
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind concentrate 15 mL
  • 1 1⁄2 c. pitted sour cherries or frozen dark sweet cherries 375 mL
  • 1 c. dried cherries 250 mL
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice 5 mL
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 c. beef stock 250 mL
  • 1 c. red wine 250 mL
  • 2 tbsp. chopped parsley or cilantro 30 mL

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C).

Mix ground beef with one diced onion in a large bowl.

Toast pine nuts, stirring often, in a small dry skillet over medium heat, until lightly brown, about five to 10 minutes. Remove to a medium bowl.

Sauté half the onions in oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat until lightly caramelized, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Add onions to the bowl with the pine nuts, then add ground beef, garlic, matzo meal or bread crumbs, Aleppo or Marash pepper, cumin, allspice, cinnamon, salt and pepper.

Break eggs into bowl and stir in tamarind and tomato paste or ketchup, mixing gently with your hands until just combined.

Form into small balls, about two inches (five centimetres) in diameter. Place on rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done, but still juicy. You should get about 50 meatballs.

While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Heat oil in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until transparent, then add tamarind, pitted, sour or frozen cherries, dried cherries, lemon juice, allspice, salt, pepper, beef stock and wine. Simmer together, uncovered, for about 20 to 25 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Mix meatballs with the sauce and serve over rice, garnished with chopped parsley or cilantro. Makes eight servings.

Smoked trout salad with horseradish

  • 8 baby potatoes
  • 1/4 c. sour cream 60 mL
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice 45 mL
  • 2 tbsp. mayonnaise 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. prepared horseradish 22 mL
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 2 mL
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 mL
  • 6 c. spicy baby greens such as arugula or watercress 1.5 L
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. parsley leaves 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. dill fronds 60 mL
  • 1/4 c. chopped chives 60 mL
  • 8 oz. smoked steelhead trout 250 g
  • 1/2 c. radishes, thinly sliced 125 mL
  • 1/2 c. pickled red onions 125 mL

Place potatoes in a small pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until just tender, eight to 10 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle. Cut in half.

Whisk sour cream, lemon juice, mayonnaise, horseradish, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Place greens, fennel, herbs and potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of dressing, tossing well to coat. Arrange salad on a large platter. Top with torn slices of trout, radishes and pickled onions. Drizzle with remaining dressing.

Quick pickled red onion

  • 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar 125 mL
  • 1 tbsp. sugar 15 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 7 mL
  • 1 c. water 250 mL
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk first four ingredients in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve.

Place onion in a jar and pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for one hour. Will keep two weeks refrigerated. Drain onions before using.

Cocoa pudding with candied pecans

I hate having a leftover egg yolk. It works just fine to use it along with the whole eggs to make the pudding.

  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tbsp. sugar 30 mL
  • 1 c. pecans 250 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream 375 mL
  • 1 1/2 c. whole milk 375 mL
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter 60 mL
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 5 mL
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar 125 mL
  • 2 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. cornstarch 35 mL
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 30 mL
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 c. chopped chocolate, at least 70 percent cacao 175 mL

Preheat oven to 325 F (160 C).

Whisk egg white in a medium bowl until frothy. Whisk in sugar. Add pecans and toss until coated. Spread out on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and bake, tossing every 10 minutes, until browned and dry, 20 minutes. Let cool.

To make the pudding, bring cream, milk, butter and vanilla to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder and salt in a medium heatproof bowl to combine.

As soon as cream mixture reaches a simmer, remove from heat and, whisking constantly, very gradually add one-third of cream mixture to egg mixture. Whisk tempered egg mixture back into cream mixture in saucepan.

Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens and is bubbling, about two minutes.

Remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Whisk until melted and pudding is smooth. Serve topped with candied pecans. Makes eight servings.

Sarah Galvin is a home economist, teacher and farmers’ market vendor at Swift Current, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. She writes a blog at allourfingersinthepie.blogspot.ca. Contact: team@producer.com.

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