Traditional holiday recipes and dishes add to the magic of the season regardless of how, when or what holiday you celebrate. These Hanukkah recipes are no exception. They are packed with unique flavors and comforting ingredients. Consider adding these dishes to your holiday menu, whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not. Thanksgiving is November 28, and many of these items would serve as a fantastic accompaniment to your turkey as well.
Challah French Toast
French toast is sweet, delicious and just plain awesome. This version is even more delectable with the substitution of challah for regular toast. Challah is a sweet, but not sugary, traditional Jewish braided bread that can be found at most bakeries or grocery stores. This recipe from FoodandWine.com is made from easily attainable items and features about the same labor of love as traditional French toast. It calls for maple syrup, but of course, you can add any topping you'd like. Serves 4.
3 extra-large eggs
½ cup milk
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
2 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter
Four ¾ inch thick slices of braided, loaf pan, or raisin challah
Warm pure maple syrup, for serving
In a medium shallow baking dish or bowl, beat the eggs with the milk, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg until blended. Working with 1 challah slice at a time, soak the bread in the egg mixture, turning several times.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large heavy skillet until bubbling. Add 2 of the soaked challah slices and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until golden brown on the second side, about 2 minutes longer. Repeat with the remaining egg-soaked challah. Serve hot with maple syrup.
Yum. These potato pancakes are great year-round, but they are more prevalent during Hanukkah. Think about the best hash browns you've ever had, and imagine them with more vibrant flavor. Latkes are what you get. This recipe from Chow.com includes ingredients that are available in the Kosher food section of your grocery's international food aisle. Cooking latkes is fairly simple. You can eat them with sour cream, apple sauce, or whatever you prefer. I have a sweet tooth, and thus, prefer apple sauce. Makes 14 latkes.
2 ½ pounds Idaho, russet, or baking potatoes (about 4 large), scrubbed
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 large eggs, separated
3 tablespoons matzo meal
1 to 2 teaspoons kosher salt
Corn, canola, or vegetable oil for frying
Line a large baking sheet with two layers of paper towels; set aside. Using the coarse holes on a hand-held box grater or the medium-coarse shredding disk of a food processor shred the potatoes and onion together. Transfer potato-onion mixture to a large colander set over a bowl.
Using both your hands, squeeze the potato mixture vigorously, as if you're wringing out a pair of wet socks. Squeeze as much liquid as possible out of the potatoes, letting the moisture drip through the holes of the colander. Once you have finished squeezing, let mixture stand for a minute or two.
Lift colander out of the bowl. Pour off the watery brown liquid in the bowl, but save the layer of pale beige paste at the bottom. (This chalky-looking stuff is potato starch, and you need it to help your latkes stick together.) Scrape up the paste, dump in the potato mixture, and mix together with a large spoon. Mix in egg yolks, matzo meal, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, and a good amount of freshly ground pepper with your hands until it is evenly incorporated. Pour egg whites into a clean, dry bowl. Using a balloon whisk or a hand-held electric mixer, beat egg whites until they hold stiff, shiny peaks. Using a rubber spatula or large spoon, gently fold the egg whites into the potato mixture.
Pour oil into a large, heavy skillet (preferably cast iron) to a depth of 1/2 inch. Over medium-high heat, heat oil until a shred of potato mixture instantly sizzles when dropped in. Fry a quarter-sized "test latke" first to check for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper as needed. Then, without crowding, spoon potato mixture into the oil, flattening each generous spoonful into a flat disk.
Let fry until deep golden brown, about 5 minutes, then flip over and continue frying until both sides are well browned, about 8 to 10 minutes for each batch. (You may need to add additional oil to fry subsequent batches.) Using a spatula, transfer latkes to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Blot any excess oil with additional towels. Serve immediately with sour cream and applesauce.
We've all been exposed to the deliciousness that is beef brisket with barbecue sauce or in noodles. This version is braised with an assortment of delectable ingredients including pepper, paprika, onions and garlic. After a few hours of thorough care, you'll get one of the most savory pieces of beef you've ever had the pleasure of eating. The brisket is a traditional staple in Passover, but it'll certainly be just as enjoyable during Hanukkah. This recipe from Saveur.com serves 6-8.
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 5 pound brisket, trimmed of some of its fat
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 ½ cups chicken stock
1 14 ½ ounce can chopped tomatoes
2 bay leaves
3 medium yellow onions, peeled and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine salt, pepper, paprika, and oregano in a small bowl, then rub all over brisket. Heat oil in an ovenproof enameled cast-iron pot or other heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid, just large enough to hold brisket snugly, over medium-high heat. Add brisket to pot and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per side. Transfer brisket to a platter and pour off fat from pot. Add stock, tomatoes, and bay leaves to pot and scrape any browned bits stuck to bottom of pot with a wooden spoon. Return brisket and any accumulated juices to pot and scatter onions and garlic over meat. Cover pot, transfer to oven, and braise brisket for 1 hour. Uncover pot and continue to braise brisket for another hour.
Push some of the onions and garlic into braising liquid surrounding brisket. Check meat for tenderness by piercing center with tip of a sharp-pointed knife; it should slide in easily when fully cooked. Cover pot, return to oven, and continue to braise brisket, checking on tenderness of meat occasionally, until very tender when pierced, up to 2 hours more.
Transfer brisket to a cutting board and loosely cover with foil. The onions and garlic in the pot should be very soft, and braising juices should be rich and saucy. If juices are thin, transfer pot to top of stove and simmer over medium heat until juices thicken, about 5 minutes. Slice brisket across the grain and transfer to a warm serving platter. Spoon onions, garlic, tomatoes, and juices on top. Discard bay leaves before serving.