When it comes to High Holy Day menus, my family and friends want the familiar recipes they grew up with, and I like to find other traditions to bring meaning and new tastes to the table.
These recipes do both. The Pomegranate Molasses Brisket gives the traditional dish a Middle and Near Eastern flavor.
Savory Baked Apples with Honey-Bourbon Sauce combines the Ashkenazi custom of apples and honey for a sweet new year with the Sephardic tradition of eating foods associated with Hebrew words. With leeks (karet), we ask that our enemies be destroyed, while squash (qara) represents our wish that heavenly judgments against us be called off.
Pomegranate Molasses Brisket
4 lbs. brisket
1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄4 tsp. salt
1⁄2 tsp. plus 1⁄4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 Tbs. oil
2 cups chopped onions
4 tsp. minced garlic
1 cup chopped carrots
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
28 oz. can diced tomatoes with liquid
1⁄2 cup plus 2 Tbs. pomegranate molasses
2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1 Tbs. lemon juice
Trim brisket of excess fat, leaving 1⁄4 inch on top. Mix 1⁄2 tsp. salt and 1⁄2 tsp. pepper and rub all over. Heat oil in large, heavy pot. Brown brisket on both sides over medium-high heat. Remove meat. Add onions, sauté until softened, stirring up any browned bits from bottom. Add garlic and carrots. Sauté 1 minute. Add broth, tomatoes with liquid, 1⁄2 cup pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, sugar and 1⁄4 tsp. each salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stir well and add meat (fat side up) and any accumulated juices. Adjust heat to keep at simmer. Cook, covered, until meat is very tender (3-4 hours), turning meat once an hour. Let meat rest 20 minutes before slicing against grain or shredding.
Add lemon juice and remaining 2 Tbs. pomegranate molasses to cooking liquid. Simmer liquid uncovered until reduced down by about half or until thick enough to use as sauce. Taste and correct seasonings. Serve with brisket.
Savory Baked Apples with Honey-Bourbon Sauce
1⁄2 cup finely diced fennel
1⁄2 cup peeled, finely diced parsnip
1⁄2 cup finely diced butternut squash
1⁄2 cup finely diced leek, white part only
1 Tbs. bourbon
2 Tbs. honey
1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper, divided
1⁄2 tsp. salt, divided
1⁄4 tsp. minced fennel fronds (feathery leaves from stalk)
1⁄2 tsp. minced lemon zest
8 large Granny Smith apples, unpeeled
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1 cup vegetable broth
2 Tbs. margarine or butter
Honey-Bourbon Sauce (see below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix fennel, parsnip, squash and leek with bourbon, honey, half the salt and pepper, fennel fronds and zest. Core the apples, leaving thin membrane of apple at bottom (or use slices of removed core to plug). Place in baking dish. Fill apples with vegetables, tamping down to pack solid. Mix juice with broth and remaining pepper and salt. Pour on bottom of pan. Dot tops of apples with margarine. Cover with foil. Bake 45-55 minutes until apples are tender but not falling apart. Serve warm or room temperature, topping each with a spoonful of cooking liquid and drizzle of sauce.
Honey-Bourbon Sauce: Combine 1⁄2 cup honey, 1⁄4 cup lemon juice, 1⁄4 cup bourbon, and 1⁄4 tsp. each salt and ground black pepper. Heat over low heat until honey is dissolved. Whisk in 4 Tbs. margarine or butter. Cook, whisking often, until syrupy and thick. Reheat if made in advance.
Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. Her columns alternate with those of Josie A.G. Shapiro. She blogs at www.clickblogappetit.com. Contact her at email@example.com.