I like to cook. Sometimes my daughter likes to eat.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Four More Passover Keepers

We went to a Passover brunch this morning, and my friend made the most delicious matzo kugel. It had pears and apricots and it was extremely satisfying in a Passover sort of way. I was really excited about it, and exclaimed, "This is great! I'll definitely be making this next year!"

That's the thing about Pesach recipes (other than matzo ball soup); gefilte fish, charoset, vegetables kugels, matzo granola, the newly discovered minas: no matter how much I enjoy them, there's no way I'll be making them again until the next Pesach. After Tuesday night, the soonest I plan to touch matzo is April 6, 2012.

But when that time comes, I want to remember these recipes. They are gooood.

Pear-Apricot Matzo Kugel: S. made this with pear instead of apple, and subbed some cardamom for some of the cinnamon (because she knows I'm not fond of cinnamon, how nice!). It's as close as you can get to a French toast casserole during Pesach. A keeper.

Matzo Minas: These were this year's big discovery. I caught this story on the NPR Facebook feed and couldn't wait to give it a try. According to the story, minas are also known as meginas or mehinas, they are a Sephardic matzo pies not unlike lasagna. I made two versions, and with the following adjustments, will happily make them again next year.

Mina de Carne

I've modified this recipe slightly to suit our tastes. It called for sugar but the carrot is more subtle and allows for more vegetable content. And draining the meat first really makes for a lighter dish. Makes filling for a 9-inch mina

1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 c finely chopped red onions (2-3 medium onions)
1 finely grated carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t kosher salt, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c coarsely chopped flat leaf (Italian) parsley
1/2 c coarsely chopped dill leaves
One 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup crumbled feta (to spread around top of mina before baking)

Brown lamb in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, drain over paper towels. Do the same with the ground beef. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat and add the chopped onions and 1 t salt; saute until soft and somewhat transparent, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the carrot, garlic, remaining salt and black pepper and cook until brown, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Lower to medium heat, add the chopped parsley and dill, and mix well. Cook 5 minutes.

Pour in the crushed tomatoes and mix well. Bring to a slow boil over high heat and cook 3 minutes, then lower the heat to medium and cook an additional 7 to 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Mix in the beaten eggs and proceed with the Basic Mina Template recipe.

Leek and Asparagus Filling with Dill and Lemon

This was delicious! I modified this recipe as well and it's a keeper! Makes filling for an 8- or 9-inch mina

2 T olive oil
4 to 5 small leeks, or 2 to 3 large, thinly sliced and washed free of all dirt
1/2 t salt

2 bunches asparagus, washed, tough stems snapped off and sliced into 1-inch lengths
1/4 cup dill, finely chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated black pepper to taste
1 c cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup crumbled feta (to distribute over the top of the casserole before baking)

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over a medium flame. Add the leeks, sprinkle with the salt and saute until they totally soften but do not color, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus, cook for an additional minute until they just begin to turn bright green, then turn off the heat (they'll cook further in the oven). Add the mint and lemon zest, black pepper to taste and additional salt if needed. Let cool for a couple of minutes, then add the cottage cheese and eggs, stirring to combine, and proceed with the Basic Mina Template recipe.

Assembling the Mina

4 to 6 sheets matzo
1 recipe mina filling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and oil an 8- or 9-inch square casserole dish or it's equivalent (which will require more breaking and reassembling of matzo to cover).

Soften the matzo sheets, either by dipping them in a dish of water or running them under the faucet, until they are just starting to soften (you don't want to oversoak, or they'll become mushy). Set aside in a clean dish towel for about 5 minutes, then check to see that they have become somewhat bendable. If not, moisten them further and set them aside for another few minutes to absorb.

When the matzo is ready, cover the entire bottom of the baking dish with a layer of matzo (you will have to break some matzo in pieces to fill in the gaps). Gently spread half of the filling over the matzo. Top with another layer of matzo, then the remaining filling. For the above recipes, top with the crumbled feta before baking. Bake until the filling is hot and set, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool and set for 15 minutes, then serve.

And here is a dessert I'd make all year long, but it is absolutely wonderful for Passover. If this flourless chocolate cake roll cracks, just serve it up in a bowl topped with whip cream and call it trifle. My sister did, and we loved it.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home