Chicken Fesenjan, from “Entreé to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora”


Tina Wasserman’s matzo ball soup provides the base of what Russell Klein serves at Meritage.

Photo from “Entreé to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora” ,

Tina Wasserman


Passover Linzer Tart. From “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora”


Recipes: Passover dishes

  • March 20, 2013 - 2:26 PM

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

Makes 3 quarts.

Note: This is the basic recipe Russell Klein uses and then embellishes at Meritage. “I always add chicken feet — they are essential to its flavor and depth.” From “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora,” by Tina Wasserman.

• 1 (4- to 5-lb.) roasting chicken

• 2 chicken feet, scrubbed

• 5 quarts water or water to cover

• 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into thirds

• 1 large onion, peeled but left whole (pierce with a knife a few times)

• 1 turnip, peeled and left whole

• 2 ribs celery with leaves cut into thirds

• 3 or more carrots, peeled and sliced into 1-in. lengths

• Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

• Matzo balls (see recipe)

• 3 sprigs fresh dill, chopped

• 3 sprigs fresh parsley, chopped


Cut the chicken into pieces, place in a large soup pot along with the chicken feet and cover with the water. Set over high heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes, skimming off the brown foam that will appear on top of the liquid.

Add the parsnip, onion, turnip, celery, carrots, salt and pepper. Continue simmering until the chicken is quite tender and the vegetables are soft, about 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove and discard the chicken feet.

Strain the soup into a clean pot, reserving carrots (discard remaining vegetables). Return carrots to soup and add the pre-cooked (and hot) matzo balls. Serve with dill and parsley as garnish.

Nutrition information per 1 ½ cup serving without matzo ball:

Calories 230 Fat 8 g Sodium 410 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 40 mg

Protein 30 g Cholesterol 71 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ bread/starch, 4 lean meat.


Matzo Balls

Makes 12 to 15.

Note: These are light and tender thanks to the beaten egg whites, but because of their delicate texture, they may not be perfectly round. Do NOT lift the top off the pot while the matzo balls are cooking as this causes them to shrink, become dense and taste undercooked. Chicken fat is available from most Byerly’s and Lunds stores, as well as at Clancy’s Meats in Minneapolis (and perhaps other butchers). From “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora,” by Tina Wasserman.

• 4 eggs, separated

• 1/2 c. cold water

• 1/4 c. chicken fat (see Note)

• 1 tsp. salt

• Freshly ground black pepper to taste

• 1 tbsp. finely minced parsley

• Large pinch ground ginger

• 1 1/4 c. matzo meal

• Oil


In medium bowl, beat the egg whites until slightly stiff. In a small bowl, beat the yolks with the 1/2 cup cold water water until foamy. Add the egg whites to the yolks and beat until combined.

Add the chicken fat, salt, pepper, parsley and ginger to the egg mixture and beat well to form an emulsion.

Stir in the matzo meal with a fork until combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Lightly grease your hands with a little oil and form the balls. Gently drop them into the simmering water. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes. Do not remove the top from the pot before the time is up. Gently transfer the matzo balls to the chicken soup before serving.

Nutrition information per each of 15 matso balls:

Calories 99 Fat 5 g Sodium 176 mg

Carbohydrates 10 g Saturated fat 2 g Calcium 9 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 53 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 other carb, 1 fat.

Passover Linzer Torte

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: This is one of Wasserman’s signature recipes, a must-have year after year. She says that Spanish Jews were the first to use ground nuts in their Passover tortes when flour was prohibited.

• 1/2 c. cake meal

• 1/2 c. potato starch

• 1 c. unsalted Pareve kosher for Passover margarine

• 1/2 c. sugar

• 1 c. unpeeled finely ground hazelnuts, almonds, or combo

• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

• 2 eggs separated

• 1/2 c. or more kosher for Passover raspberry jam, preferably seedless


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine the cake meal and potato starch in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the margarine and pulse on and off until the mixture is well combined.

Pulse in the sugar, hazelnuts or nut mixture, cinnamon and egg yolks, and mix until smooth and well blended.

Take 2/3 of dough and press over the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of an ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Spread with raspberry jam.

Using your fingers, gently work the remaining dough into ropes and arrange as weaving over the top of the jam to create a lattice crust top. The ropes don’t have to be perfect because they become smooth during baking. Fasten the dough rope to the rim of dough and smooth it out with your fingertip, pressing lightly.

Beat egg whites slightly and brush over the top of the lattice. As you brush the ropes will get smoother and more uniform.

Place the pan on a cookie sheet that has very low sides and bake until firm and golden, 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Nutrition information per each of 10 servings:

Calories 360 Fat 24 g

Sodium 29 mg Saturated fat 5 g Carbs 35 g Calcium 25 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 37 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1½ other carb, 5 fat.

Chicken Fesenjan with Walnuts and Pomegranate Syrup

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: This famous Persian dish is festive enough for any special occasion. It tastes even better made a day in advance. It’s great served over basmati rice. From “Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora,” by Tina Wasserman.

• 1 heaping cup of walnut pieces

• 3 to 4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 large onion cut into 1/4 in. dice (about 2 c.)

• 3 tbsp. tomato paste

• 3 tbsp. pomegranate molasses or syrup

• 2 tbsp. honey or 3 tbsp. sugar

• 4 grindings of sea salt or to taste

• 10 grindings of black pepper

• 3/4 tsp. cinnamon

• 3 tbsp. water

• 3 chicken breast halves with bones

• 3 chicken thighs

• 1 c. chicken broth or water

• 2 or more tbsp. lemon juice (as needed)

• Pomegranate seeds, if available, for garnish



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnut pieces on a baking sheet or pan, and toast until fragrant, about 5 to 6 minutes for large pieces. Remove from oven and then cool before finely chopping them in a food processor.

Heat a 4-quart Dutch oven for 20 seconds. Add oil and heat for another 15 seconds, then add diced onion. Sauté for 5 to 8 minutes or until onions are soft and lightly golden.

Add onions to the processor work bowl with the nuts and pulse the machine on and off 7 times until a coarse paste is created.

In a small glass bowl combine the tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, honey or sugar, salt, pepper, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons water. Set aside.

Remove skin from the chicken pieces. Rinse and pat dry.

Reheat the pan in which you sautéed the onion. If necessary, add another tablespoon of oil. Add chicken meat-side down first and cook for 5 minutes or until slightly browned. Flip meat over and cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove chicken from the pan to a platter. Add the onion/walnut mixture to the pot along with the contents from the glass bowl. Add 1 cup chicken broth or water, and stir to combine.

Return chicken to the pot, turning pieces so that they are well coated with the walnut mixture. Cover pot and put in a preheated 350-degree oven for 45 minutes or until meat is tender.

If necessary, adjust seasonings by adding more sugar or lemon juice to the mixture to get a balanced sweet/sour taste. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 375 Fat 24 g Sodium 286 mg

Carbohydrates 18 g Saturated fat 4 g Calcium 58 mg

Protein 24 g Cholesterol 58 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 3 lean meat, 3 fat.


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