If someone were to ask you what your mother’s kitchen smelled like on erev Rosh Hashanah, what would you say? Perhaps you’d close your eyes and transport yourself years back to the smells of chicken soup mixed with the sweetness of taiglach or tzimmes filling the house. Undoubtedly, you’ll revisit the first taste of apple dipped in honey on your tongue. When you are knee-deep in holiday cooking, taste often; lean into those meaningful dishes and the feel of replicating how they were made. Meanwhile, here are a few updated recipes for your holiday table to celebrate the newness of the year.
Slow Roasted Apple BBQ Minute Roast
A flavorful homemade BBQ sauce glazes this tender roast, adding a boost of flavor. As it reduces during the long cooking time, it will become a deliciously concentrated and thickened glaze.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped (about 1½ cups)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1½ cups ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1/3 cup apple juice or cider
½ cup apple flavored liquor
1 teaspoon Kosher salt plus more to taste
½ teaspoon (scant) black pepper
1 (3½ -4 pound) minute roast
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add vinegars, ketchup, molasses, juice, liquor, salt and pepper. Stir to blend, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes to blend flavors.
2. Preheat oven to 225°F. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Season roast with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper; place roast in skillet and sear until browned, turning once, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer roast to a rack and place in a medium roasting pan.
3. Pour sauce over roast and bake uncovered for 5-7 hours (or longer if you like it well-done), basting occasionally. Test for doneness with a meat thermometer—internal temperature will be your deciding factor (140-145 degrees=rare, 150-160=medium, 170=well). Slow roasting cooks the roast slowly enough that the internal color is nicely preserved, so expect a bit of red or pink color even if meat is cooked to medium.
4. Remove from oven and tent foil over roast, allowing roast to rest for 15-20 minutes. Slice roast and serve with remaining sauce from the roasting pan.
Size Matters: The larger the roast, the longer the cook time.
Do Ahead: Sauce can be prepared two days ahead. Cover and refrigerate; reheat gently. The roast can easily be prepared overnight if timed properly—put it in to slow-roast before bedtime and take it out when you wake up (omit basting).
Pan Roasted Salmon with Triple Pepper Relish
Yields 4-6 entrees, 10-12 appetizers or 20 tappas starter portions
A flavorful, sweet and sour pepper relish is first cooked and reduced down before adding the fresh salmon. Serve as a main course with roasted potatoes or rice, or by itself as an appetizer, garnished with lemon. Cashews or peanuts can be pre-toasted for 10 minutes in a 325°F oven.
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
1 large yellow pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon (heaping) minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons cider vinegar
6 (4-5 ounce) fillets salmon
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup toasted cashews or peanuts, chopped
Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
Lemon slices, for garnish
Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat until oil is hot (not smoking). Add onion, peppers and salt and sauté for about 8-10 minutes—vegetables should be softened. Add crushed red pepper, garlic and ginger; continue to sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Reduce to medium heat; add honey and vinegar, stirring to blend. Continue to cook until mixture reaches a jam-like consistency, about 6-8 minutes. In the meantime, season salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
When relish reaches desired consistency, carefully place the salmon (skin side down) in the pan in an even layer, using tongs to push the relish to the sides of the pan and on top of the salmon fillets. Cover; reduce heat to low and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until salmon is done (should flake easily with a fork).
To serve, plate salmon topped with some of the relish (or on the side if desired). Sprinkle with toasted, chopped cashews or peanuts and chopped parsley. Garnish with sliced lemon.
Harvest Meat & Vegetable Soup
Yields 16-18 servings
This is a loaded “kitchen sink” type of vegetable soup with a large yield—a perfect choice for a holiday soup to feed a crowd.
3 quarts (12 cups) water
1-pound beef flanken (short ribs), cut into chunks (in between bones)
3 beef bones
5 celery stalks, sliced
1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
4 small (6-8 inch) zucchini, halved and sliced crosswise into half-moons
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, chopped (or canned diced tomatoes can also be used)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons sugar
¼ cup tomato paste
½ cup red wine
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
Bring water, flanken and bones to a simmer in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. When foam and impurities rise to the top, skim the surface to remove as much scum as possible. Add all of the remaining ingredients except fresh parsley and basil. Stir to blend. Allow soup to return to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer partially covered for about 1½ hours. Add parsley and basil; stir to blend. Season to taste, adjusting salt or pepper as needed. Simmer for another few minutes to absorb seasonings and season to taste once more. Serve and enjoy!
Baked Apples Stuffed with Apricots and Almonds
Yields 6 servings
I like the sweet spice of a Fuji for these baked apples, but you can use most firm apples as long as they are firm-fleshed enough to hold up during baking (Macintosh will melt into applesauce!).
6 Fuji apples
Juice from ½ lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
½ cup dried apricots
½ cup almonds
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons plus 1/3 cup dark rum or brandy
1½ cups apple cider
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Using a melon baller or corer, scoop out stem end and entire core of apples, being careful to leave the bottom intact. Using vegetable peeler, remove 1-inch-wide strip of peel from around the top of the cavity. Brush exposed apple surfaces with fresh lemon juice to prevent browning.
3. Place apricots and almonds in a food processor and pulse (about 10-12 times) until well chopped and clumping together (do not over-process—you don’t want to form a paste). Transfer the apricots and almonds to a small mixing bowl and add maple syrup, brown sugar, spices and 2 tablespoons of dark rum. Mix to blend.
4. Fill cavities to the top (it’s okay to over-stuff!) with apricot-almond mixture.
5. Mix 1/3 cup rum and cider in the bottom of a 9×13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange stuffed apples in prepared dish. Cover with foil and bake for about 40 minutes, occasionally basting the apples with the cider cooking liquid.
6. Uncover and bake for additional 20-30 minutes, basting often with cooking liquid. Apples are done when fork pierces easily and the skin is slightly wrinkled. Serve the apples warm, with cooking liquid spooned over and around apples.
Cook Time: The harder the apple variety, the longer the baking time required.
Naomi Ross is a cooking instructor and food writer, and the culinary director at Apron Masters Kitchen in Woodmere, New York. She teaches classes throughout the tri-state area and writes articles connecting good cooking and Jewish inspiration.