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Happy Passover! Who’s cooking?

AJC Staff

AJC Staff

I’m assuming you’ve got tonight’s Seder dinner all planned. But in case you’re a last-minute type or need some inspiration for a second Seder tomorrow, here are a couple of recipes to whet your afikomen.

1. Foolproof matzo balls, from a story a wrote a few years ago.

2. Brisket, à la my mother.

Here’s how you make it:

  • 4-5 pound slab of brisket, fat still attached
  • 8-10 medium carrots, peeled and trimmed but left whole
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of pickling spice (or a bit more if you like)
  • About a quart of tomato juice

Yes, this a vague recipe. But it’s an easy one. Place the brisket in a too-large roasting pan with the fat side up. Arrange the carrots around it. Sprinkle the pickling spice on top. Add enough tomato juice to nearly submerge the meat. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Cook at 275 for about 5-6 hours until the meat is tender. Remove the meat and scrape any spices into the sauce. Puree the sauce in a blender and season with salt.

Slice the meat and pour the sauce over the top. Keep warm (or cook, covered, for another 30 minutes to further tenderize the meat). Serve with noodles that are kosher for Passover.

- by John Kessler for the Food & More blog

6 comments Add your comment

Anton Chigurh

March 25th, 2013
12:35 pm

Seder always sneaks up on me. No invites for brisket again this year.


March 25th, 2013
1:27 pm

Always assumed that people had lamb for Passover, just like we have it for Easter.


March 26th, 2013
1:19 pm

@Kar, as I understand it, until the First Century, when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed and Judaism took a turn for the worse that continues to be mourned to the present day, it was tradition to sacrifice a lamb on Passover. However, for centuries now there has been a practice of NOT eating lamb on Passover as a way of remembering the temple sacrifices. Some Jews, especially those of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean heritage (so-called “Sephardic” Jews), may eat lamb on Passover, but it is not widespread. I believe I read that in households where one spouse is Christian and the other Jewish, lamb is gaining in popularity for the holiday meal. That makes sense to me, as Passover can be a way to remember how connected Judaism and Christianity are–Jesus and the Last Supper and all of that. Someone correct me if I’ve got it wrong.


March 27th, 2013
7:46 am

Lorenzo…….that is alot more than I knew. So Until you are corrected, I will accept your fine explanation. Us Irish believe anything if you serve a few pints w/ a meal.


March 27th, 2013
3:21 pm

Lorenzo is correct on the differences between the Middle Eastern (Sefardic) vs. European (Ashkenazic) Jews, but Jewish Law does say an ENTIRE lamb may not be roasted and served because it would be too similar to a sacrificial offering (animal sacrifices were only supposed to take place inside a temple, to avoid any sense of idolatry). Like many Kosher rules, this has become antiquated, as there are no more sacrifices of any sort, and it’s also not reasonable that anyone in this day & age would be roasting an entrie lamb at their house (Big Green Egg enthusiasts not-withstanding).

But Passover is a holy time, at which point even if you do not practice Kosher, it’s encouraged that you do so. There is some discussion about being misleading/confusing whether you are serving a piece of lamb or part of an entire lamb if serving it at your seder dinner (seems obvious in this day & age, but if you follow religious laws to the T, then there’s the debate). Regardless, with all the gray areas, when in doubt, it’s probably best to steer clear of lamb at the Passover seder. It’s only for a week, just eat some brisket instead!


March 28th, 2013
8:32 am

Food Fan…..thanks for adding to my religious studies also. The catholicity of my upbringing did not dwell of the finer points of other religions.
You are right, you don’t see alot of whole lamb roasts in the neighborhoods anymore! Now a pig pickin, thats another story for us down South. We should wait for Passover to conclude before we have that article to talk about.