Kosher Kitchen

Winter blessing: Early, warm Shabbos dinner


Shabbat in winter brings forth thoughts of steaming chicken soup, roasted chicken and lots of hot and homey side dishes. After all, it is winter and we crave the warmth and comfort of the foods that make us feel better — like chicken soup.

The candles are lit earlier, bringing the quiet and peace of Shabbat into the house much earlier. It used to mean more time to spend with the kids before bedtime on Friday nights. That meant more time for favorite books, games and cuddle time. It also meant that dinner time was more peaceful. Not sure why but, I think they sensed the peace of the Sabbath entering the home and the quiet that it brought with it.

I love winter Shabbat. I make challah and warm desserts and lots of hot soup. In the winter, I keep gallons of chicken stock in the freezer ready to make soup with a day’s notice. I also love to make all kinds of comfort foods in the wintertime. And, while I do make salads almost daily in the winter, I much prefer hot, cooked veggies when the temperature hover in the 20s and teens. It’s too cold to chomp down on cold lettuces and other veggies. And science has proven that we do gravitate those foods that we think of as “heavier” in the winter.

Winter Shabbat means that often there is less time between work and dinner to prepare, so being able to prepare a meal the night before can really help. While reheating might not sound ideal, some dishes are actually better the second day and many are not changed at all. Sitting overnight often gives flavors a chance to blend.

These dishes reheat beautifully. Shabbat Shalom!

Chicken with Shallots and Wine (Meat)

20 to 25 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise

1/3 cup unbleached flour

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 to 1 tsp. black pepper

1 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlick powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/4 tsp. tarragon

8 to 12 bone-in, skin on, chicken thighs 

1/2 cup canola oil, divided

1 cup chicken stock or broth, to taste

1-1/2 cup dry white wine, to taste

OPTIONAL: 2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 Tbsp schmaltz

Several sprigs of fresh thyme

Peel the shallots and cut in half lengthwise. Set aside in a large bowl. 

Place the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and tarragon in a small bowl. Whisk to blend. Dredge the chicken thighs in the flour mixture and place on a plate. Dredge a second time, very lightly.

Heat a large, deep skillet and add half the oil. When shimmery, add half the chicken pieces. Brown on all sides and remove to a proof roasting pan. Add the rest of the oil and the rest of the chicken. Brown and remove to the roasting pan.

Add the shallots to the pan and cook until caramelized and golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. If the shallots stick, add a bit of stock to deglaze the pan. For some added flavor, add a bit of schmaltz to the pan. When golden and softened, remove and scatter evenly over the chicken thighs. If using mushrooms, add to the pan and sauté until the liquid is re-absorbed and the mushrooms begin to brown just a little. Scatter evenly over the chicken. If adding thyme, place very few sprigs over the chicken thighs.

Add the wine to the pan and deglaze using a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Add the chicken stock and bring to a low boil. Let simmer until a bit thickened. Pour over the chicken, cover the pan with foil and place in the oven for 25 to 35 minutes. This reheats very well. Serves 4 to 6.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Maple Glazed Pastrami and Shallots (Meat)

2 lbs. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and cut in half

2 to 3 Tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 tsp. salt

1 (scant) tsp. black pepper

3 to 5 shallots, peeled, cut in half and thinly sliced (I used 5 large ones)

1/3 lb. pastrami (not lean) cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Additional 2 Tbsp. Extra extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup pure maple syrup, dark amber (grade B)

1 Tbsp. dark brown sugar, mounded and firmly packed

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set aside.

Place the sprouts in a large bowl and toss with the olive oil, shallots, salt and pepper. Place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Roast in the oven until some charred spots appear, about 20 minutes. The sprouts should still be less than fork tender, but not completely hard. Remove from the oven.

While the sprouts are roasting, cut the pastrami into bite sized pieces and place in the same bowl as the sprouts were in. Mix the brown sugar into the maple syrup, in a small bowl and stir until well combined. Pour over the pastrami and toss to coat. Set aside.

Remove the sprouts from the oven and let cool. When cooled, scrape into the bowl with the pastrami and toss to mix. Drizzle the additional olive oil onto the pan and brush to coat the pan. Scrape the sprouts mixture onto the pan and spread into a single layer. Drizzle any remaining liquid over the mixture. Place back into the oven and roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, scraping once or twice to loosen from the pan.

When golden and the sprouts are softened, remove from the oven. Let cool a bit and scrape into a serving bowl. Serves 6 to 10. To reheat, place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Spray the sheet with non to stick spray and spread into a single layer. Reheat at 400 degrees for about 5 to 6 minutes.

Easy Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes (Meat)

2 to 3 lbs. Yukon Gold or Yellow Finn potatoes (as many as your family needs)

1 to 2 heads head roasted garlic

1/2 cup minced fresh chives

1 cup chicken stock

2 Tbsp. corn oil

salt and pepper to taste

TO ROAST GARLIC: Cut the tips off of the cloves of a whole head of garlic to open them to the olive oil and the heat. Drizzle generously with olive or vegetable oil. Wrap loosely in aluminum foil and bake at 350 until light golden brown and the cloves of garlic are soft, 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Place in a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Simmer until the potatoes are soft.

Squeeze the garlic out of the casing and into a small bowl or a food processor bowl. Discard the casings. Mash or process until smooth. Add the corn oil and mix well. Set aside.

Drain the potatoes and process them through a ricer or mash with a masher.

Heat the chicken stock in a small saucepan until it reaches a simmer. Simmer until reduced by about a quarter or third. Scrape the garlic into the chicken stock and mix well. Pour into the potatoes and mix vigorously. Add the chives, salt and pepper, and mix well. Adjust seasonings and serve hot. Serves 6 to 10. Reheat in a well-greased casserole dish, covered tightly, at 350 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.

Apricot Almond Crumb Cake (Pareve)

1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. pareve, non-hydrogenated Margarine

2/3 cup sugar

4 extra large egg yolks

1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1-1/3 cups unbleached flour

1 tsp. baking powder

3-1/2 ounces very soft almond paste

2 to 15 ounce cans or a 25 ounce jar of apricot halves in syrup, drained


1 stick pareve, non-hydrogenated margarine

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup flour

3-1/2 ounces almond paste

Confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 10-inch round spring-form pan with non-stick cooking spray. If you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a 10-inch cake pan and line it with parchment. Take two long strips of parchment, about three inches wide and long enough so that they hang over the sides by about an inch or two and place them forming a cross in the pan. Place the circle of parchment over the strips. (The strips will be used to remove the cake.)

Place the margarine and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the yolks one at a time, mixing after each addition. Add the vanilla and beat until smooth.

Using a fork, mix the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Add to the margarine mixture in thirds, beating after each addition. Add the almond paste to the batter and beat until very smooth and well blended. Spread the almond batter over the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing gently with the back of a spoon.

Drain the apricot halves well and place on a paper towel to dry a bit. Arrange them, cut side down in circles, from the outside, covering the cake except for a 3 to 4- inch diameter space in the center.

Place the margarine and the dark brown sugar in the bowl of the electric mixer. Beat at medium high speed until light and fluffy. Add the almond paste and mix until smooth and completely blended. Add the flour all at once and mix for a couple of seconds, just until large crumbs form. Sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the apricots. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes or until the center is firm and the crumbs a deep golden brown. A tester in the center should come out clean. Let cool in the pan.

Remove the sides of the pan or use the parchment strips to lift the cake to a platter. Just before serving, dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serves 8 to 12.