Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! Passover is almost here, which seems strange because it’s still winter according to the calendar and the weather! There are just two more Shabbats left before Passover begins…the first Seder actually takes place on Shabbat this year.
Here are some excellent Passover recipes, poignant memories, and helpful cooking advice that some of my foodie friends recently shared in my Facebook group, Norene’s Kitchen! https://www.facebook.com/groups/180575465335095/.
Ann Dennis of Thornhill posted a photo of a pickled beef brisket (corned beef) that she had purchased and wrote: “Share recipes, please!” Polly Storozum of Montreal was among those who responded, generously sharing her recipe for pickled brisket (below). It’s so yummy, you just can’t stop eating it!
Molly Morris of Thornhill makes pickled brisket year ‘round in her slow cooker. She posted: “My recipe is made with one can of dark beer and enough water to just make sure it’s covered. It’s so amazing (but sadly, not for Passover)! Not to worry – this is a good way to use up any beer you have. I put it on to cook on low setting in my slow cooker on Friday before Shabbat, to have for Shabbat lunch.”
Lisa Neuman of New York stepped up to the plate to explain the difference between beef brisket and corned beef brisket: “Corned beef starts out as beef brisket and is brine-cured first. The brine-cure is what makes it corned beef and that curing process is where it gets its color from. At stores, beef brisket will be labeled beef brisket and have a good amount of fat on it. Typically, it’s a pretty big piece of meat.”
Lisa continued: “When I make corned beef, I take it out of the bag and put it in a pot with enough water to cover. Then I boil it up three times, changing the water each time. That gets rid of the too salty taste. In the final water, I add some sugar, 3/4 or 1 full cup. For the last boil, I lower the heat to a simmer and let it cook for about an hour. I either serve it like that (cooled and sliced) or make a glaze and bake it for another 45 minutes.”
If you’d prefer roast brisket rather than one that is pickled, try my recipe for Sweet and Saucy Brisket (below.) It was just featured in the 2018 edition of Kosher.com’s Personal Passover Cookbook: Let’s Talk Food. The book was briefly available free of charge in several Toronto supermarkets, although they’re probably ‘all gone’ by now. And if you make any of the recipes featured in today’s blog, everyone will also make ‘all gone!’
For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the fabulous Flourless Chocolate Torte that was posted by Aliza Perez, daughter of the late Leah Perez, z’l. Aliza’s mom was a big fan of my books and we actually met at a cooking demo I did a number of years ago in Montreal.
Aliza posted: “I want to share my mom’s Passover chocolate torte with you all! I’ve never made it, it scares me, but my older sister Tammy Perez has made it for us a few times since my mom passed a few years ago!”
I responded: “If you make it, your mother will guide you as she watches over you. Just listen to her voice and it will turn out perfectly.” Another member, Irit Beck, answered: “Just imagine how many of us will make this and have the presence of her neshama at our seders. Thank you for sharing!”
Aliza shared: “This recipe became a family favourite when our mom suspected she was allergic to gluten. We quickly learned that many of her favourite gluten-free recipes were also Kosher for Passover. This rich chocolate torte was a staple at family gatherings and when our mom passed away in 2009, the tradition lived on. We still enjoy this delicious recipe after each Seder at our oldest sister’s house each Passover.”
It comes from “What’s Cooking at JPPS at Bialik” (Jewish People’s Schools and Peretz Schools, Bialik High School, Montreal, Quebec), now out of print. It’s a cookbook that Aliza’s mom helped put together for her elementary and high school way back when.
Finally, if you’re trying to figure out how to get your cooking done, here’s how to make Passover while you sleep: http://www.cjnews.com/food/prepare-for-pesach-while-sleep. Any help we can get is good help!
POLLY’S PICKLED BRISKET
Polly posted: “This pickled brisket recipe is a real crowd-pleaser—it also tastes terrific in matzo roll sandwiches. I did a smaller one in the Instant Pot, just 2 cups of water and 1 onion. I cooked it on Manual setting, 60 minutes on high. OMG, it melted in your mouth!
1 pickled beef brisket (about 4 lb)
Water, as needed
3 cans cola (diet cola is fine)
2–3 cloves garlic, smashed
- Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a large roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- Spread onions in bottom of pan.
- Remove pickled brisket from bag; place brisket on top of onions. (Discard liquid and bag.) Add just enough water to barely cover brisket. Add cola and garlic.
- Cover pan with foil. Cook slowly in the oven until it’s ready. (Calculate approximately 45 to 50 min per pound, sometimes longer.) The meat has to be soft enough to put a knife through it easily.
- Cool meat slightly, then remove it from the roasting pan. Slice it across the grain, using an electric knife. Place meat into an aluminum pan and pour pan juices on top.
Makes 8 servings.
NORENE’S SWEET AND SAUCY BRISKET
Brisket is perfect for the holidays because it feeds a large crowd with minimum effort. You can make it in advance and it reheats and/or freezes well.
2 large onions, sliced
1 beef brisket (about 5 lb/2.3 kg), well-trimmed
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
3/4 cup tomato sauce
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp honey
3/4 cup dry red wine or water
- Spray a large roasting pan with cooking spray. Spread onion slices in bottom of pan and place brisket on top. Season brisket on all sides with garlic, basil, salt, and pepper.
- In a medium bowl, combine cranberry sauce, tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Mix well. Spread sauce evenly on top and around brisket. Pour wine or water around and underneath brisket. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. (Can be prepared up to this point and marinated for 24 hours in the refrigerator.)
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Cook brisket, covered, for about four hours, until fork tender. (Calculate 45 minutes per pound). During the last hour of cooking, loosen foil slightly and baste brisket occasionally.
- When done, remove pan from oven and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove congealed fat from the surface. Slice brisket thinly across the grain, trimming away excess fat.
- Place brisket slices and gravy in a covered casserole and reheat in a preheated 350°F oven for 25–30 minutes before serving.
Yield: 12 servings. Keeps for three to four days in the refrigerator; reheats well. Freezes well for up to four months.
LEAH’S FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE TORTE
Leah Perez Z”L
1/2 cup pareve margarine
8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup ground almonds
- Preheat oven to 350⁰ Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch spring form pan with foil, then grease it.
- Melt margarine and chocolate together on low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool.
- Beat egg whites until stiff, about 2 minutes. In another bowl, beat together yolks and sugar about 1 minute.
- Blend in chocolate mixture and stir in ground almonds. Fold in beaten whites, 1/3 at a time, until no streaks of white remain.
- Scrape into prepared pan. Place an 8-inch pan with 1 inch of water in it on the bottom rack of the oven (this helps make the torte moister).
- Bake the torte on the center rack for 45–50 minutes, or until sides begin to pull away from pan and top is set in center. Cover loosely with foil for the last 20 minutes of baking. Don’t worry if the top cracks… it will become the bottom of the cake later.
- Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the pan. Invert onto a serving platter, remove the foil-covered bottom, and cool completely. The center will be a bit fudgy tasting.
- Before serving, sprinkle a bit of sugar on top or garnish with some sliced strawberries or whatever you have on hand.
- When beating egg whites, make sure that your bowl and beaters are clean and grease-free. Do not use a plastic bowl—either use a glass or stainless-steel bowl.
- When separating eggs, it’s easier to do when they are cold. When beating egg whites, it’s best to beat at room temperature for maximum volume.
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of twelve cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto, Canada and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at www.gourmania.com or email her at email@example.com