Archive for the 'tcholent' Category

14
Jan
11

Jachnun


Ever since I first tasted it at a Shabbat kidush in shull, I can barely eat cholent without it anymore. Looking to make my own  jachnun, rather than buy it, I found the following on Astray Recipes:

Making jachnun - Photo from: travelpod.com

Jachnun

Ingredients

  • 3¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoon Salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1¼ cup water
  • ¾ cup margarine; cut into 6 pieces

Directions

  1. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor and process to blend. Add egg and 1 cup water and process with on/off turns to mix. With motor running, gradually add remaining water, about 1/4 cup, adding enough so mixture comes together to a smooth, fairly stiff dough. It will be sticky. Remove from processor.
  2. Knead dough well by slapping vigorously on the work surface. Divide into 6 pieces and knead each one with a slapping motion until smooth. Roll each in your palm to a ball.
  3. Put on an oiled plate or tray, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  4. Oil working surface and rolling pin. Let margarine stand at room temperature until very soft.
  5. Roll out 1 ball of dough on oiled surface to a very thin 12-inch square. To help stretch dough, pull it gently from time to time by hand, until very thin. If dough tears, simply press it together. Spread with a piece of soft margarine. Fold in half, then in half again to make a long strip. Roll up strip from a short side in a tight cylinder. Repeat with 5 remaining pieces of dough.
  6. Put in greased, shallow 8-inch square baking dish. Cover with foil and a lid and refrigerate at least 2 or up to 8 hours. Preheat oven to 200 F. Bake pastries 13-14 hours or until golden brown. Serve hot.

Source: “International Jewish Cookbook“, by Faye Levy, Warner Books 1991. Found on the Internet.

Personally, I’ll skip the sixth step. I’ll take one serving put it in the cholent and freeze the others to be used on subsequent weeks. I also add some hardboiled eggs (Yemenite custom) which by lunch time, on Shabbos, taste superb having cooked for so many hours on low heat.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

23
Jul
10

Not Quite the Waldorf Astoria


As your dauntless adventurous reporter I visit many an establishment, some which are on my personal list of must-go-to places, others bold new journeys into the unknown. And why do I take these daring plunges? Because I’ve taken it upon myself to both laud the good and damn the bad, thereby sparing The Kosher Scene‘s readers the experience of wasting good money on a bad meal, recommending with eclat the good, noteworthy spots. This past Shabbat, I found myself  in a turn of events I could never have anticipated… Imagine a beautiful, tastefully decorated hotel-like lobby complete with gift shop and concierge.service, well sort of.  Neither hotel, nor restaurant, this was one place I would never have wanted to stay at… let alone eat at. But, that’s where I reluctantly spent last Friday through Monday. And… it saved my life!

As a result of an acute allergic reaction SYR rushed me to Brooklyn’s New York Methodist Hospital, shortly before 9:00am last Friday, looking like a not so distant relative of the bubonic plague survivor or a Brobdingnagian Monster who escaped from the volcanic vortex of Mount Vesuvius.. . By mid afternoon I was admitted to the hospital while I was gawked at and prodded like a curious museum exhibit, by a whole parade of doctors, wanna- be doctors and other curious onlookers and tourists who came to admire  my unique and unsightly skin condition , tssk, shake their heads and walk away in deep contemplation… Frankly, I was scared… doctors were not quite sure what had happened or why! Their speculative diagnoses was somewhere between a geriatric version of killer chicken pox or a horrible allergic reaction, but… to what?!?!?  Theories were rampant!  Was it the cheeses I had been eating non-stop for the past three weeks, was it the detergents, had I come into contact with some contaminant or been bitten by some rabid tick or worse.?  Had I come into contact with any strange woodland creatures,  had I come into contact with any cute domestic creatures that weren’t quite kosher or clean?  Don’t ask, it was humiliating if it weren’t so darn itchy and uncomfortable.

There were the blood tests, the IV’s, the poking ad prodding till I resembled the Swiss cheese I thought I might be alllergic to. SYR, goodness personified that she is, would not leave me alone for Shabbat. She went to the well stocked Bikur Cholim room to drum up some food and she returned with all types of goodies including a very good, very moist sponge cake (I’m not normally a sponge cake fan!). The kosher food at dinner came from Palace Caterers, under the Volover Rav’s hasgacha. The next day, the Bikur Cholim‘s little pot of tchulent proved surprisingly tasty even if the color and consistency did not seem very promising. Day by day, thanks to the dedicated care of the hospital staff and the various visitors (family and friends!) my condition kept on improving until they finally discharged me on Monday afternoon. Today they gave me the results of the biopsy they run on Sunday and I’m happy to say that the allergy is not food related, at all!!  So The Kosher Scene‘s important quest for the best will continue, Baruch Hashem!!

I wish I had known that I was destined to taste Palace Caterers food and report on it… I would gladly have gone to their premises, there really was no need for the mountain to come to me as far as I’m concerned…

CS

13
Apr
10

Israeli Food Blogs – Part 2


Over the years I’ve tasted many variations of tcholent (tchulent if you are of chassidische background), some tasted superb even if they were sometimes exotic. Baroness Tapuzina – a food blog I read voraciously – offers a Sephardic variation on the theme. Like Food Bridge, this one also offers a small glimpse into the life and personality of its author.

[All photos in this post are the property of Baroness Tapuzina.]

Israeli Hamin, North African Shahina and Dafina, Iraqi Tabit, Yemenite Taris, Hungarian Solet, Kurdish Matfunia, Ladino Haminado, German Shalet and Eastern European Cholent or Chulent are all words for a Shabbat slow-cooked meal that has been made since at least the 12th century and possibly as far back as ancient Egypt in many households except my own. Whatever you choose to call it, hamin originates from the ban on lighting a fire or cooking during Shabbat, since these are considered to be forbidden forms of work. However, it’s permitted to start something cooking before Shabbat starts, so provided the heat is kept low enough, it’s possible to start cooking the hamin on Friday afternoon and have a nice tender slow-cooked meal for lunch on Saturday.

I had never heard of this dish until I moved to Israel. I remember my grandmother telling me how she and my great-grandmother would make challot at home and take them to the village baker to bake on Friday morning, but she never mentioned making this stew and my great-grandmother, who died when I was 19 years old, never made it for Shabbat, so I have to assume that this dish was as unfamiliar to my family as was gefilte fish.

Growing up in the Deep South, baked beans, pinto beans, and blackeyed peas were all readily available, but not a very popular staple in my house. My mother loved all of these, but I always thought they were disgusting. So when I saw cholent for the first time, it reminded me of refried beans or baked beans, two dishes that I really disliked. I tried it once at the house of one of my relatives in Israel, but I couldn’t bring myself to eat it again. However, one day I was discussing my dislike of cholent with Mimi of Israeli Kitchen and she told me that there are many different types of cholent, some without beans, that I should try.

I started doing some research and found that there are Sephardic versions that use chickpeas, bulgar, rice, and even couscous instead of the European versions that use white beans (also called navy beans) or barley, like the ones used in cassoulet. The Ashkenazi ones used beef, goose, and duck while the Sephardic ones used beef, lamb and chicken. This dish is supposed to be a complete main course in one pot, so it also can contain stuffed goose necks, chicken necks or stomach.  If you are Ashkenazi the stuffing is likely to be some variation of flour, bread crumbs, chicken, goose or duck fat and potatoes; if you are Sephardi, it is more likely to be minced meat and rice flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cardamon and allspice.

The hamin may also may contain dumplings. Kurdish Jews make a cracked wheat and semolina dumpling that is stuffed with minced beef or lamb; Moroccan Jews serve a large fragrant dumpling made with a mixture of ground nuts, minced lamb, mince beef and bread crumbs, flavoured with sugar, black pepper, mace, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.

For my virgin hamin, I found an interesting recipe from the master chef of cholent, Sherry Ansky, a food writer who is passionate about this slow-cooked dish, so much so, that she devoted an entire book to the subject, punctuated by stories from her own life about the role different types of hamin and cholent had played for her. I chose to make a root vegetable hamin with asado or short ribs and goose drumsticks. This recipe does not contain the dreaded bean nor the much loved slowed eggs that I also loathe. I started by browning the meat and the vegetables in a large frying pan and then did the next stage of cooking in a large soup pot, and only after that moved all the ingredients to a very large clay pot, but if you have a large enough Dutch oven or Pojke, then you can just do the whole job in that one pot. You should cook this for about 20 hours, including the one hour it cooks on the stove top.

Since I never prepare a heavy Shabbat lunch, I decided to make this Thursday night and serve it for Shabbat dinner. It is a bit unconventional, but it worked for us. This hamin is delicious and I have been converted. I am going to wait a few weeks, but I would like to try another hamin. I see an Iraqi Tabit in our future or maybe one with pitim or maybe one with pasta……

Don’t plan any activities after lunch because you will probably be too heavy and bloated to even move from the table.

Printable recipe here

Root Vegetable Hamin made in a Clay Pot
Adapted from a recipe in Hamin by Sherry Ansky
Serves: 6-8

2 kilos (4lbs) veal or lamb osso buco (I used short ribs)
1 kilo goose drumsticks
10 whole shallots, peeled
2 heads of garlic, unpeeled, cut in half
3 to 4 celery stalks, chopped
2 celery roots
2 parsley roots
4 to 6 small turnips
1/2 (1lb) kilo Jerusalem artichokes
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
2 -3 bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2-3 fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs rosemary
3 medium tomatoes chopped or 250g crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 to 7 potatoes, peeled and cut in half
2-3 small sweet potatoes (optional, instead of some of the potatoes), peeled and cut into thick slices
Water to cover

Peel and cut the turnips, celery root, parsley root and Jerusalem artichokes into large cubes. Place the root vegetables and celery in a bowl and set aside.

Place 1 tablespoon of oil in a large Dutch oven on medium-high heat. Brown the meat and goose drumsticks, in batches, on all sides, and set aside in a bowl.

Add 2-3 more tablespoons of oil, reduce the heat to medium and saute the whole shallots for 3-4 minutes. Add all of the root vegetables except for the potatoes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon to ensure that the vegetables do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add the paprika, cayenne, black peppercorns, chopped tomatoes and tomato paste and stir a little more.

Then return all of the meat to the pot and stir everything together. Pour on enough boiling water to just cover all of the ingredients and add the thyme, bay leaf, sage, and rosemary. Reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for one hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 90-100C (195 – 212F).

Add the potatoes and garlic, add a little more salt to taste, cover the pot tightly and put it in the oven until lunchtime the following day.

Sounds great! I’ll have to try it this coming Shabbos, though I’ll use a slow cooker or crockpot (on low heat) rather than the oven. When I make my own recipe I use flanken meat, pastrami, kishka and add a bar of Yemenite jachnun to the beans (which I soak in water for, at least, 8 hours), Vidalia onions, potatoes, garlic and tomato sauce with lots of spices.

CS




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