This week is the Festival of Lights. While I don't have much time to devote to it this year while working, we still observe and celebrate. For those that would like to know more about this special week and why it is important,
My silver tree of life menorah had an untimely accident so this piece above acted in its place this year. I always want lamb for this celebration, as I do Passover. So, Hanukkah dinner this year was Montreal seasoned lamb shank chops with mint jelly, latkes, red beets, spinach with a pinch of vinegar and salt, cinnamon applesauce, and a bottle of Bully Hill's Sweet Walter Red wine. Red velvet cheesecake served as dessert. If you look back through the archives, you will find numerous Hanukkah recipes I've posted for this time of year. Sadly, I didn't have time to make my apple cake or kugel this year.
Tomorrow I will make matzo ball soup, which I think should just be a staple for the season, period. Nothing spells comfort food like matzo ball soup!
Matzo Ball Soup!
1 (5 or 6 pound) hen
2 large celery stalks with leaves, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced in big chunks
1 onion, quartered
3 sprigs parsley
3 sprigs fresh dill (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 eggs, lightly beaten
4 tablespoons chicken fat (from the above soup)
1 cup matzoh meal
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup hot water
12 cups salted water
Wash the chicken with water and place in pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat, skimming off bubbling foam as it forms. Add celery, carrots, onion, herbs, salt and pepper and simmer, half-covered at lower heat, for at least 45 minutes, until the chicken seems done. The chicken will come away easily from the bone. Pour soup through strainer to get a clear broth. Let cool. When broth has completely cooled, skim off the fat and save for the matzoh balls.
In a mixing bowl, mix together 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons chicken fat. Stir in the matzoh meal and salt. Add 1/4 hot water. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Form the matzoh dough into balls the size of walnuts. Bring the salted water to a boil. Add the matzoh balls, cover, and cook for 20 minutes (don't even peek!). Bring the chicken broth to a simmer. Remove matzoh balls from hot water with a slotted spoon and add to the simmering chicken broth just a few minutes before serving.
Note: If you are concerned if the oils or other ingredients in these recipes are suitable for Passover, seek non-dairy substitutes or ingredients that are certified kosher for Passover.