Pesach 5768 (2008) - Seder

We come to the first meal of the holiday (third or fourth of the weekend).  Its Seder Time and that means Tradition.   Recall if you will, the setting.  We start the Seder protocol about 30 to 60 minutes after Shabbat ends.  In Israel this year, we will start the Seder around 9pm.  The big problem is that you cannot set up ANYTHING until after Shabbat ends.  This means that the table, the food and anything else that we need to prepare needs to be done between the end of Shabbat and the beginning of the Seder.

We now sit down and begin.  Some two hours later, we reach the Shulchan Orath (Set Table) portion of the Seder.  Its time to eat.  Clock Check: 11pm.  So we start the meal at 11pm at night.  Who is ready for a major four course rich gourmet meal?  Oh, and recall that at least half the crown is buzzed from drinking two full cups of wine.

My view is that Seder meals should be full of tradition and light on content.  My families tradition is not to serve anything resembling a Paschal Lamb.  That means no Lamb and no Roasted Beef.  My mother always serves Turkey.

To begin the meal, we have egg or potato soup.  Calling this soup is a stretch.  The liquid is salt water.  Each person takes an egg or potato, mashes it up and then adds a small amount of salt water.  The egg is a reminder of mourning and/or beginnings.  The salt water is to remember the tears we shed in Egypt.

My mother then serves a fish course.  We've tried this a number of times, but this year we will take a pass.  Too much food at too late an hour.

Main course is going to be Beef and Cabbage Stew (Kol Dulce Con Karne) and Chicken Breast Meatballs with Garlic and Potatoes.   Sides will be Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.  The starch will be Matza Farfel.

Dessert will be around midnight.  We'll go for a light fruit salad.

Here's the menu:

Seder Plate: Egg, Boiled Potato, Charoset, Lamb Shank (we use the real thing, but don't eat it until the second day), Romaine Lettuce, Parsley, Ground Horseradish

Seder - 19 people

Egg or Potato with Salt Water
Kol Dulce Con Karne (Sephardic Kosher Kitchen)
Chicken Breast Meatballs with Garlic and Potatoes (Sephardic Kosher Kitchen)
Brussels Sprouts
Roast Cherry Tomatoes
Matza Farfel
Fruit Salad

Recipes

Chicken Breast Meatballs with Garlic and Potatoes (Albondigas con Kartofis i Ajo)
1 Lb. ground chicken or turkey
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 Tsp salt
1/2 Tsp ground pepper

Make into small meatballs less than 1 inch in diameter.

2 Tbsp vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic chopped
3/4 cup tomato paste
1 cup water
1 stalk celery finely chopped
6 medium potatoes peeled and quartered

Heat oil, saute the garlic for a minute or two until they are just golden,  add the tomato paste, 1 cup water. 1 Tsp salt and the celery.   Bring to a boil and then simmer covered for 10 minutes.  Add the meatballs, potatoes and 1/2 cup water.  Cover and cook 30 minutes until the potatoes are soft.  Add ground white pepper and chopped parsley before serving.

Sauted Beef and Cabbage (Kol Dulce con Karne)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Lb. (1 kilo) stewing beef cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion chopped
1 and 1/2 Tsp. salt
1 head cabbage shredded
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 Tsp sugar
1 Tbsp hungarian paprika (sweet)
1/2 Tsp ground pepper
bay leaf
juice of 1 lemon

In a large pot with a cover, heat the oil and saute the beef and onion until the beef is brown.   Add 1 tsp salt and 1/2 cup water.  Cover and simmer for 1/2 hour to soften the beef.  Add the cabbage, tomato paste and red pepper along with the 1/2 tsp salt, sugar, paprika, ground pepper, bay leaf and lemon juice.  Simmer covered for another 1 hour.    Uncover and simmer for another hour until the liquid evaporates.  The last hour can also be cooked in an oiled pan in a 325 degree oven. 

Matza Farfel

1 Large onion
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 cups broken matza in small pieces
2 cups chicken broth or from instant chicken soup mix
1 cup sliced mushrooms

In a pot with a cover, heat the oil, carmelize the onion (saute until brown).  Add the matza and mushrooms and saute for a few minutes.  Add the stock and simmer, covered until the liquid is absorbed.   Heat to serve.

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