Traditional Passover favorite foods

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - The most widely observed celebration of the Jewish faith is coming up on April 14.

The eight day festival of Passover is marked by rituals, family traditions and special foods. Chef Terry John Zila served up three of his favorites.

Gundi Traditional Jewish Chickpea and Chicken Dumplings

4 to 6 servings


3 small white or yellow onions, peeled and chopped

½ pound chicken thighs (skinless and boneless) cut into 1-inch pieces

2 ½ cups chickpea flour

¼ teaspoon turmeric

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 quarts chicken stock

3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped

3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1. In a food processor, pulse the onion until it is finely chopped. Remove to a bowl

2. Add the chicken to the food processor and pulse until it is finely chopped but not pureed. Remove to the bowl with the onion.

  1. Add the chickpea flour, cardamom, cumin, turmeric, salt, pepper and oil to the chicken and onion mixture and mix together well with clean hands. Place in the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours.
  2. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator, and form into about sixteen 2-inch balls with wetted hands. Set the balls on an oiled baking sheet as you finish them.
  3. Bring the chicken stock to a gentle simmer in a large pot over medium-low heat. Carefully drop in the chickpea balls, one at a time, stir gently and simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  4. Place a few dumplings in each serving bowl and add a big spoonful of the stock. Garnish with the mixed herbs and serve hot.

Classic Beef Brisket


6 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons olive oil

1 (4 pound) beef brisket, first-cut

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup vegetable oil

4 large carrots, cut into 3-inch sections
3 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch sections
4 large red onions, peeled and quartered
2 cups dry red wine
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes, hand-crushed
1 cup chopped Italian parsley
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.

2. Place the garlic in a blender or mini-prep food processor and pulse until minced. Add the salt and rosemary and pulse until a paste forms. Add the olive oil and pulse to incorporate. Set aside.

3. Season both sides of the brisket with kosher salt and ground black pepper.

4. Heat the vegetable oil in a large roasting pan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place the brisket in the roasting pan and sear until well browned on both sides.

5. Scatter the vegetables around the brisket and pour the rosemary paste over the browned brisket. Add the wine, tomatoes, parsley and bay leaves.

6. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 3 to 4 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the pan juices, until the beef is fork tender.

Remove the brisket to a cutting board and let it rest for 15 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the roasting pan and transfer a platter, covering to keep warm.

7. Pour out some of the excess fat, and place the roasting pan with the pan juices on the stove over medium-high heat. Remove on cup of the broth and transfer to a small mixing bowl. Whisk in 1 tablespoon of flour and blend until smooth. Return this mixture to the pan and whisk in to blend.

8. Boil the sauce, stirring, for 5 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened.

Slice the brisket across the grain at a slight diagonal.

Hash Browns

Serves 4

This recipe uses clarified butter, with is simply butter with the solids removed. To clarify butter, place a pound of unsalted butter in a saucepan over lowest heat possible. Allow the butter to heat slowly. As the butter heats, the solids will rise to the top. Allow the butter to heat for about 15 minutes, after which, you will be able to skim the solids floating off the top. You can store the clarified butter for about a month in the refrigerator.


2 pound russet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated.

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

Clarified unsalted butter

Sour cream garnish (optional)

1. Grate the peeled potatoes using the largest holes on a box grater, or, if using a food

processor, fit the processor with the grater attachment with the largest holes.

2. Rinse the grated potatoes under cold running water. Fill a large mixing bowl with cold

water until and soak the rinsed potatoes until you are ready to make the hash browns.

(You can soak the potatoes for up to 3 hours if you want to do this step in advance.)

3. When you are ready to make the hash browns, drain and dry the shredded potatoes.

Heat a non-stick skilled over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter

and add the dried off potatoes and spread them in an even layer over the surface of the

pan. Season with salt and pepper.

4. While the potatoes are cooking, give the pan an occasional shake. The idea here is to

give a little movement to the potatoes to keep the hash browns from sticking to the

bottom of the sauté pan. Also, using a wooden spoon or a heat-proof silicon spatula,

push the potatoes in slightly around the edges during the cooking process.

5. During the cooking process, you may find that the potatoes have absorbed the clarified

butter. As this occurs, add more clarified butter, a tablespoon or two at a time. This

will prevent sticking during the cooking process and of course, add flavor to the

finished product.

6. After about 4 to 5 minutes, lift up the edge of the hash browns to check for doneness.

When the hash browns are golden, place a large flat plate over the surface of the hash

browns and very carefully invert the sauté pan over. Return the pan to the heat and

slide the hash browns back into the pan to brown the other side. Season with additional

salt and pepper. Sauté, adding additional clarified butter as needed.

7. To serve, place the finished hash browns on a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve

with condiments of your choosing, but sour cream is really good with these.


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