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The Shabbat Table – Practicing for Pesach

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Double lemon roast chicken from King Solomon's Table by Joan Nathan (Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC)

Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! Passover is just around the corner and the search is on for tried and true Passover recipes. If you’re tired of cooking the same old thing again, cooking something different for Shabbat is a great way to try out something original to serve to family and friends for Pesach.

Some people prefer to stick with tradition and their Seder menus include gefilte fish, matzo ball soup, roast brisket, sweet and sour meatballs or cabbage rolls, chicken, potatoes in some form, and various vegetable kugels. Chicken is always popular because it’s so flexible, feeds a crowd, and won’t break the bank. Vegetarian dishes are always in demand as they can double as a main dish for those who don’t eat meat. By the time you get to dessert, you don’t think you can find room…but somehow you do!

Award-winning cookbook author and culinary maven Joan Nathan elevates basic roast chicken into an elegant dish with the addition of fresh herbs and Preserved Lemon (see below for recipe). By cooking a variety of vegetables together on the same pan, she transforms simple roast chicken into a meal fit for a king…King Solomon! Her vegetarian kishke is a delicious accompaniment to chicken or brisket.

 Schokoladenwurst, Chocolate Sausage, is perfect for dessert. Click here for the recipe: https://www.cjnews.com/food/shabbat-table-culinary-exploration-king-solomons-table or you can watch the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC7PC78WLYs

Nathan writes: “How amazing it is – sometimes it even takes my breath away – when gathered around the Passover table, we think that Jews are sitting around similar tables across the world, eating symbolic foods absorbed from culinary traditions developed over thousands of years.”

 

DOUBLE-LEMON ROAST CHICKEN

Adapted from King Solomon’s Table by Joan Nathan (Knopf)

Joan Nathan writes: “Wherever I am, comfort food is roast chicken. Like many people, I learned from Julia Child. As I travel the world, I have added to and subtracted from the dish. Now I pop one of my preserved lemons (see recipe below) into the belly of the chicken, season it with fresh herbs, za’atar, and sumac, and scatter carrots, celery, zucchini, black olives, and sun-dried or fresh tomatoes around for an easy, beautiful, and—most important—delicious and colourful one-pot meal. I used to serve chicken whole, but now I cut it up and surround it with the vegetables and sprinkle everything with the preserved lemon from the cavity. For Passover, I use artichokes with the chicken as one of my main courses at the Seder.”

 

1 whole 4-pound chicken

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1–2 Tbsp za’atar (optional)

1 tsp sumac

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 preserved lemon, divided (see recipe below)

5 cloves garlic, peeled

Handful of fresh thyme sprigs, divided

Handful of rosemary sprigs, divided

Handful of sage leaves, divided

1 onion, cut into roughly 8 pieces

2 lemons, cut widthwise in thin circles

3/4 cup white wine

1 celery stalk, 1 carrot, peeled, 1 fennel bulb, and/or 1 zucchini, all chopped into 2-inch pieces, or a handful of Brussels sprouts, black olives, and sun-dried tomatoes or a fresh tomato, cut up

 

  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper, za’atar if you like, and sumac. Then rub the outside with the olive oil.
  • Put the chicken in a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Fill the cavity with half the preserved lemon, 2 garlic cloves and a sprig each of the thyme, rosemary and sage. Cut up the remaining preserved lemon and scatter it with the remaining cloves of garlic, the onion and the rest of the thyme, rosemary and sage, as well as the regular lemon slices, around the chicken. Add enough wine just to let the chicken sit in the liquid. You can do this the night before and cover with tin foil in your refrigerator.
  • When ready to cook, remove the chicken from the refrigerator for about a half hour to return to room temperature. Here is where you can be creative. Add cut-up celery, carrots, zucchini and/or fennel; Brussels sprouts, black olives and sun-dried or fresh tomatoes; or leave as is.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° F, then roast the chicken until it is golden-brown and crispy, about an hour and 15 minutes, or until the internal temperature says 160° F.
  • Cut the chicken into roughly 8 pieces, place them on a platter, spoon the vegetables and juices with the preserved lemon and lemon slices over and around the chicken, and serve.

 Yield: makes 6–8 servings

 

PRESERVED LEMONS

Adapted from King Solomon’s Table by Joan Nathan (Knopf)

These are a delicious addition to hummus, grilled fish, roasted chicken, or salad dressings.

 

About 16 lemons (preferably thin-skinned lemons such as Meyer lemons)

About 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt

2 Tbsp olive oil

4 fresh bay leaves (optional)

 

  • Cut off the very ends of 8 of the lemons. Slice each one lengthwise into quarters, cutting to but not through the opposite end. Gently open half the lemon over a bowl and sprinkle 1 Tbsp of salt into it, then open the other half and add another tablespoon, using 2 Tbsp total per lemon.
  • Put the cut lemons in a large jar—it’s fine if you have to pack them in, as they will shrink. Extract the juice from the remaining lemons and completely cover the cut ones in the jar with the juice. Slip the bay leaves, if using. Let sit for a day, lightly covered with a towel.
  • The next day, pour a thin film of olive oil over the lemons and their juice. This will help keep them sealed while they preserve. Cover the jar tightly and put in the refrigerator or store at room temperature for 3–4 weeks. They will last for about a year.

Yield: 8 preserved lemons

READ: THE SHABBAT TABLE – A NEWISH JEWISH SHABBAT

 

KISHKE, STUFFED DERMA WITH MATZO MEAL, SPICES, AND ONIONS

Adapted from King Solomon’s Table by Joan Nathan (Knopf)

Kishke, an ancient delicacy, is usually either packaged and made with a vegetable casing or you can make your own, baking it in parchment paper. Sliced rounds of kishke are typically served with cholent, but they also could stand in as a meatless main course for vegetarians at Passover, or any meal.

 

6 Tbsp vegetable oil or chicken fat

1 medium or large onion, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 stalk celery, cut into chunks

1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup matzo meal

1 tsp salt, or to taste

1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1/8 tsp hot paprika (can use smoked paprika)

 

  • Preheat the oven to 425º F. Line a baking sheet with a double layer of foil 12 inches long, topped with a sheet of parchment paper the same size.
  • In a skillet over medium-low heat, heat 4 Tbsp of the fat or oil, and sauté the onion and garlic until soft and golden, about 5–10 minutes. Cool slightly and pour everything, including fat, into a food processor equipped with a steel blade.
  • Add the remaining 2 Tbsp of fat or oil, celery, carrot, matzo meal, salt, pepper, and paprika to the food processor. Pulse until the vegetables and fat are incorporated into a paste. Transfer the mixture to parchment paper, then shape into a knockwurst-like cylinder about 9 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. Enclose the parchment and foil firmly around the cylinder, folding the ends under.
  • Either bake for 30 minutes and then add it to your cholent, or bake for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350ºF and cook until the kishke is solid, about 45–60 minutes more.
  • Unwrap the kishke to expose the surface and return to the oven just until the top is lightly browned and slightly crisped, 10–15 minutes. Cool slightly and cut into rounds. If desired, serve as a side dish with pot roast or roast chicken.

Yield: about 8 servings

 

Excerpted from KING SOLOMON’S TABLE by Joan Nathan. Copyright © 2017 by Joan Nathan. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.