This week Mel, Shankari, and I are deviating a bit from our Appetizers and Soups courses. We thought since the holiday season was coming we'd each make a couple of recipes adapted from Jewish Cooking to give you ideas for your Hanukkah celebration.
I made Chopped Chicken Livers and Rugelach, an appetizer and a desert.
The Chopped Liver, what could be a more quintessential Jewish dish? To me this is Jewish soul food and Rugelach is a rich flaky filled cookie.
I love chopped liver so I couldn't wait to try this recipe. I thought it turned out well and it was delicious. My husband hates liver so for him it was just OK but at least he tried it and that was a big plus. It is easy to make but does take some time as you have to wait for the livers to cool before beginning. The recipe also calls for broiling the livers to bring the blood to the surface thereby rendering them Kosher. I wasn't sure how long to do this since I didn't want to over cook the livers. I broiled mine for about 5 minutes, but got very little blood so I don't know if mine was Kosher or not and if being Kosher is not a requirement for you just skip the step. Though I think it does make a difference rather than dumping raw livers into a pan to cook. That being said, here is the recipe adapted from Marlena Spieler's Jewisih Cooking.
CHOPPED CHICKEN LIVERS
1 container chicken livers (13 oz. approx.)
2-3 small to medium onions chopped
1/2 onion finely chopped
4Tbs oil or rendered chicken fat
3-4 green onions thinly sliced (reserve some for garnish)
2-3 hard boiled eggs chopped
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
2tsp mayonnaise or firm chicken fat
1-2 tsp chopped fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley (optional for garnish)
Broil the chicken livers slightly to bring out the blood (5-7 min.) to the surface and render them Kosher. Rinse and place in a pan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Leave the livers in the pan to cool. The livers should be firm but not dry.
In a large frying pan fry the onions in the fat or oil over medium heat until well browned and beginning to caramelize around the edges season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
Chop the livers finely if by hand. If using a food processor place the livers and the fried onions in the bowl with the left over oil from the onions. Pulse until you get the desired consistency. You can take it to a thick paste for a pate consistency or leave it a little more coarsely processed for a more rustic or hand chopped consistency.
In a bowl combine the livers with the finely chopped onions,green onions,chopped eggs, the mayonnaise or chicken fat and the chopped dill. Cover and chill.
To serve mound the chicken liver on a plate garnish with the parsley and remaining green onions and serve accompanied it with matzos crackers, rye bread and dill pickles.
RUGELACH as adapted from Marlena Spieler's Jewish Cooking
These are rich flaky cookies rolled around a sweet filling. These are thought to come from Poland where they are a traditional sweet at Hanukkah. I made two different types of Rugelach the original recipe with raisins, nuts and cinnamon sugar and also a raspberry one with raspberry jam, nuts and cinnamon sugar. I also wasn't' sure that it would turn out since I misread the recipe and used a cup of butter rather than a half cup but it turned out fine. I asked my husband if they were good and got a resounding YES! I tried one and yes, they are delicious I may have to add these to my Christmas cookie collection. Be sure to leave time for the dough to chill, it would be best to make the dough the night before. I didn't have a lot of time so I divided the dough in half wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer for a couple of hours and it worked just fine. A very forgiving recipe. Here is what you do:
(1)1/2C unsalted butter
1/2C Farmer's Cheese (not low or fat free) make sure it is very creamy and not the dry type
1/2 tsp salt
about 2 1/4 C flour
1/2C butter melted
2 C golden raisins (soak in hot water until plump, drain well)
1C chopped walnuts ( I chopped mine very fine since I don't like chunks of nuts)
1/4-1/2 C sugar
1-2 tsp cinnamon
Put the butter and the cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until creamy. Beat in the sugar, egg and salt. Fold in the flour a little bit at a time into the creamed mixture until the dough can be kneaded by hand. Add only as much flour as it takes to make the dough a consistency that can be rolled out. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or over night. The dough will be too soft if not chilled thoroughly.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the dough into six equal pieces. Refrigerate the dough not being used. On a lightly floured surface roll each piece into a round about 1/4 inch thick. Cut each round into 8-10 wedges, brush the wedges with melted butter sprinkle with the raisins, nuts and cinnamon sugar. Roll each wedge from the wide edge to the tip.. like you would a Pillsbury crescent roll. Arrange the rolls on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake about 30 min. until lightly browned. Cool before serving.
I thought 30 minutes was a long time but it does take about that long unless your using a convection oven then about 15-20 minutes. For the raspberry Rugelach I used raspberry jam. I put a small dollop on the buttered wedge and then sprinkled with the nuts and cinnamon. I also brushed these with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar before baking. Mini chocolate chips are also a popular filling as is apricot.
Be sure to check out Mel and Shankari's blogs for their recipes.