Thursday, April 14, 2011

Braised Veal and Spring Veggies for Passover

As a devout agnostic with a vaguely Christian heritage married to a very Reformed Jew, I host a Seder that respects the traditions but probably would not pass muster with a strict rabbi.  We love the idea of gathering friends and family around a festive table to celebrate my husband's heritage, to teach my children appreciation for their roots, and of course, if it centers around food,  I'm in. 

Epicurious has a great Passover Guide where you will find a wealth of information and recipes.  I did a dry run on our Passover dinner this week.  In addition to the seder plate, (thank you,,  here's what I'll be serving Monday night, after a trip to the Market for
the latest spring veggies and a veal roast (believe me, asparagus is at its best right now!):
Happy Passover!

Braised Veal Roast  (NB:  for simplicity's sake, and to comply with the Jewish restriction on mixing meat with dairy, I skipped the step that involves stuffing the roast with goat cheese; in fact, I skipped the stuffing step altogether, just tossed the fresh herbs in the braising liquid, and the dish came out beautifully with far less fuss.) 
Roasted Asparagus:  Break stem ends off stalks, rinse, and toss in a baking dish with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon juice.  Roast at 425 for 15 minutes.
Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes:  Peel and cut sweet potatoes.  Toss with olive oil and your favorite spice blend--Devil Dust from Beck's Cajun Cafe is great, but any peppery preparation will work.  Roast sweet potatoes at 375 for 1 hr.
Pickled Cippolini--these lovely little gems provided a perfect sweet/tart counterpoint to the veal--and I suspect the leftovers will be fabulous as a condiment on sandwiches.

By far our favorite of all the seasonings offered by Beck's in the Market, is their Devil Dust - perhaps the name is none too appropriate in the context of this post...

This ] versatile spice combo seems to go well with pretty much everything--meat, salmon, shrimp and root veggies so far.    (We're looking forward to summer, when we'll sprinkle it over garden-fresh zucchini, eggplant and peppers and pop them on the grill!)

For those interested in a mini-history lesson, Passover is the Jewish celebration that marks the emancipation of the Israelite slaves from Egypt.  It is a joyous holiday that centers around the Seder.  Seder, meaning "order" is a meal during which traditional and symbolic foods are eaten to commemorate the struggles of the slaves and their eventual freedom from bondage and journey to the promised land.   This story is told via readings, prayers and songs at the table.  (Thank you,

As the story goes, in their haste to flee Egypt, the Israelites did not have time to wait for the bread to rise, so they hightailed it out of town with unleavened bread--or matzoh.  To mark this event, it is forbidden to consume any leavened bread or grain products for the eight day Passover period--no pasta, rice, corn, breads, cereals, oats, etc., though like traditions in every faith, there is a wide range of observance.

We do like Hollywood's classic retelling of this tale...

Next post:  Passover desserts--with no flour or leavening, these can be a real challenge, but I'm up for it! Also....quick news flash from Metropolitan Bakery -- their 19th Street bakery will be selling three different types of matzos during this Holiday season.

No comments: