Apr 12 2012

Let’s Eat Again

Published by Christine at 8:15 am under Fish,Poultry

Last weekend was a whirlwind of cooking and feasting, what with all these holidays one right after the other – so much happy making. My beloved family and friends kept asking me when (oh when) I would start food writing again, so I thought now would be a good time to let the writing bug do what it does best: it bit. I write.

Easter was celebrated, as has become customary over the past few years, at my friend Mary’s house. The menu for that feast included a succulent leg of lamb, barbecued to perfection, as well as a light and lively cauliflower and leek soup, vichyssoise-style (i.e. cold) – I will surely be revisiting that one sometime soon and share the recipe. That’s how good it was, and I’m hungry at the thought.

Passover’s second seder was my responsibility, for the second year in a row, and I had a really grand time coming up with the menu, because it typically includes a couple of main dishes and an array of starters and sides. It’s definitely a meal that is built for a special occasion, one that takes many hours to put together, but the satisfaction of bringing together friends and family to enjoy a true holiday feast is, in my book, worth every bit of work. Would I do this more than once a year? Probably not. However, many of the dishes in this menu can be made separately at any other time, and really deserve to be revisited outside of the seder. They all need to be made ahead of time, which is one of the reasons they are so well-suited for a large get together.

You can view the menu here: Passover dinner menu 2012


Vegetable soup with matzo ball


Cauliflower and leek kugel: de-li-cious.


That kugel recipe is really easy and wonderful, and definitely one I will make again. You can find it at epicurious.com.


Tomato stuffed with quinoa, zucchini and mushrooms


The first dish I would truly recommend you try and make is the sea bass and salmon terrine with garlic aioli; it would be lovely for a light lunch. It’s essentially a delicious gefilte fish. Notice the words “delicious” and “gefilte fish” used in the same phrase? You’re not likely to see that ever again, but I promise it’s true. Everyone raved about how good it was, and I can say this since the recipe is not mine. I found it on Martha Stewart’s web site. Her recipe uses halibut instead of sea bass, but since I was foiled once again in my attempt to buy halibut, I had to substitute. I do not know how the original tastes, but I think I can safely say that the sea bass did not hurt my rendition of this dish one bit.


Not your mother's gefilte fish


The brisket was another big hit (and one for which I also hold no claim since I took the recipe from another website). The sauce is really what makes it: a wine sauce not so much enriched as it is gloriously highjacked by three pounds of onions and some orange juice. It must cook for 4-5 hours and rest overnight before it can be enjoyed, but the preparation time is really minimal. It is a recipe really worth trying, particularly if, like me, you eat meat rather infrequently; this makes the occasion a special one. It also makes the house smell like heaven.


Still life with brisket


Last, but not least, is the chicken with pomegranate and walnut sauce. This recipe was given to me by my sister Brigitte, who makes it once or twice a year. It is a traditional Iranian recipe which she typically makes with duck instead of chicken. The magic of this dish is also in the sauce: made with pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts, it must cook for several hours before it acquires a gorgeous, glossy, chocolate-brown finish with just enough tartness to jazz up the chicken. It is a rich, beautiful and festive dish which deserves every bit of your attention.

And so I say let’s eat again, and again.

Welcome back to The Flex.


Chicken with pomegranate and walnut sauce
Khoresht Fesenjan


1 whole chicken, quartered and skinned (or chicken pieces)
a large onion
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 10-oz bottle pomegranate molasses
10 to 12 oz ground walnuts
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
sugar to taste

Chop and sauté the onion lightly in some olive or peanut oil, until soft. Add cinnamon and cook until fragrant. Add water, walnuts, some salt and pepper and mix well. Add molasses and 2 tsp sugar and mix well. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer and add chicken. When chicken is done (time will vary depending on the size of your pieces), remove it from the sauce and set aside. Let the sauce simmer gently for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Occasionally give it a stir and taste for seasoning. When the sauce is done, it will be glossy and chocolate colored, and taste tart, but not overly so. Add a little more sugar as needed.

Let rest overnight. Before reheating, skim fat off the top of the sauce, and place chicken pieces back in.


You might need a little extra time at the gym to work this one out, but it is entirely worth it.


Serve with basmati rice and a light, dry white wine, such as pinot grigio.


One response so far

One Response to “Let’s Eat Again”

  1. Deb Amlenon 12 Apr 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Mmmm …. and a good time was had by all! Thanks again!

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