Nira Rousso’s Roast Chicken on Pita with Fennel, Garlic and Currants Yield: 6-8 servings
4 lbs. chicken, cut into 8 pieces ½ cup balsamic vinegar ½ cup light-brown sugar 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 10 brine-cured green olives, pitted and crushed 3 garlic cloves, crushed, plus 2 whole heads garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste ½ cup dry white wine 4 fennel bulbs, cored and quartered lengthwise 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/4 cup dried currants 1 large pita or 4 8-inch pitas 5 sprigs fresh oregano or parsley, cut to about 3 inches long
1. Wash the chicken well and pat dry. Place in one layer in a flameproof baking dish.
2. To make the marinade, put the vinegar, brown sugar, oil, olives, and crushed garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse to a coarse paste.
3. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the chicken pieces and pour the marinade on top, rubbing it in well. Add the wine and ½ cup of water. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 400°.
5. Drain off most of the marinade from the chicken and reserve. Scatter the fennel and the whole cloves of garlic around the chicken.
6. Roast the chicken, uncovered, on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°, turn the fennel and bake for 20-25 minutes longer or until the chicken is cooked. Transfer the chicken pieces, fennel and whole cloves of garlic to a serving platter, reserving the pan juices.
7. Add the soy sauce, currants and the reserved marinade to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on the top of the stove to reduce by half. When ready to serve, heat the pita and place it on a large platter. Spoon on the chicken, fennel, and garlic. Pour the currant sauce over the dish, garnish with the fresh oregano or parsley, and serve.
From The Foods of Israel Today by Joan Nathan, Knopf 2003.
Eggplant Pancakes Yield: About 12 pancakes
1 eggplant (about 1 pound) 2 large eggs Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion 5 tablespoons bread crumbs or matzo meal 1 tablespoon chopped parsley Vegetable oil for frying
1. Peel the eggplant and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in boiling salted water to cover and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drain.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the eggs, salt and pepper, onion, bread crumbs or matzo meal, and the chopped parsley. Fold in the eggplant, adding more bread crumbs or matzo meal, if needed to hold together.
3. Heat a griddle or nonstick pan, then add a thin film of vegetable oil. Drop heaping tablespoons of the eggplant batter into the pan and pat down. Fry for a few minutes on each side or until golden.
From Jewish Cooking in America by Joan Nathan, Knopf 1994.
Cranberry-Walnut Tart Yield: one tart
Crust 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour ¼ cup sugar 1 stick butter or pareve margarine, chilled 3 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
Filling 2/3 cup light corn syrup 2/3 cup light-brown sugar 3 large eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 tablespoons butter or pareve margarine, melted 1½ cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted lightly
1. To make the crust, put the flour, sugar, butter or margarine, and vegetable shortening in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until crumbly. Gradually add ¼ cup ice water, processing until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°.
3. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and, on a floured surface, roll it into a circle 13 inches wide. Line a 10- or 11-inch tart pan with a removable bottom with the dough, trimming off the excess. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
4. Line the dough with parchment paper. Fill the parchment paper with enough dried beans to just cover the paper. This helps set the crust by weighing down the dough as it bakes.
5. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the dough just begins to brown. Remove the beans and parchment paper and let the crust cool. Leave the oven on at 350°.
6. To make the filling, put the corn syrup and light-brown sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
7. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla and the melted butter or margarine. Stir in the chopped cranberries and walnuts.
8. Pour the mixture into the partially baked and cooled pie crust.
9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
From Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Joan Nathan, Schocken Books 2004.