For eight nights, in the dark of winter, Jewish families around the world celebrate the Festival of Lights, better known as Hanukkah. Each of those nights will be filled with traditional rituals and foods, from lighting the menorah to eating potato pancakes. Read on for a few ideas that can take Hanukkah meals to another level.
Potato Recipes for Hanukkah
Potatoes figure largely in most Hanukkah meals – because potato latkes are practically required eating. Our potato pancakes are fried in duck fat because duck fat plays well with potatoes and it gives these latkes a golden crust that’s delightful.
We couldn’t resist adding another Jewish culinary staple: foie gras. It is believed that the Jewish people brought the tradition of fattening duck livers out of Egypt and into Europe. The apples and seared foie gras on top make this a next-level latke.
A latke of a different sort, this classic French potato cake recipe – called Pommes Anna – features black truffle butter and duck fat. After searing in a skillet, it goes in the oven to bake and results in a lovely “cake” that is crispy on the outside and tender at the center.
Another – and completely different – way to enjoy potatoes and duck fat is to make these confit fingerlings, poached gently in duck fat until fork-tender. This is so simple, but so delicious, and will pair with almost any main dish.
Chicken in Three Variations
There’s something so satisfying about a roasted chicken, whether on a holiday or a weeknight. This luxurious twist on a simple roast chicken involves both black truffle butter and fresh black truffle slices layered under the skin, which creates an ultra-juicy bird that’s full of truffle flavor. Thanks to Ariane, we love truffle butter under the skin of a turkey. But the trick works equally well with a chicken.
Here’s a way to make good use of day-old challah bread. This gorgeous recipe for golden brown roasted capon with buttery challah bread stuffing is a sure-fire crowd-pleaser any day, but especially nice for a Hanukkah dinner with the family. Capons make great holiday meals because they are are so much larger than a chicken, but not quite a big as a turkey.
This easy roasted poussin recipe makes a charming dinner for two – but you can double up the recipe as needed to serve a family. A little duck fat and pan-drippings create crispy potatoes with super tender flesh.
Praise for the Braise
Is it even Hanukkah without brisket? A fantastic choice for feeding a family, this beef brisket is slow-cooked in a whole bottle of red wine and aromatics. Hearty and rustic, it’s the perfect dish for a cold winter’s night – warming and comforting at the same time.
For Sephardic Jews, who are from Spain, Portugal, and Arab lands, a lamb tagine might take the place of brisket on the table. In this recipe, adapted from David Tanis, lamb shanks are cooked in a tagine, a traditional Moroccan clay vessel, with dates and raisins to add body and sweetness to the sauce, and warming spices like cumin, ginger, and coriander. You’ll find these slow-cooked lamb shanks are beautifully spiced and spoon-tender.
If you have a taste for lamb and want a simple recipe with lots of flavor, try our shawarma spiced lamb loin. This easy recipe has a Middle Eastern-style spice rub and can be served over rice, salad, or in a warm pita with tabbouleh, tahini, and pickled vegetables.
What’s for Dessert?
Rugelach are signature nut-roll style Jewish cookies that originated in Poland but are favorites around the world today. We parted with tradition somewhat in our version by combining French chestnuts and cranberries, which complement each other nicely. These festive rugelach are perfect for Hanukkah and holiday cookie exchanges.
Since olive oil is part of the Hanukkah tradition, we think this blood orange and fennel cake with olive oil cake would be a welcome finish to an evening meal. Delicious and easy to make using our exclusive French Jean Reno olive oil – it’s dense, sweet, moist, and a definite dessert show-stopper.
This hot cocoa recipe incorporates the nutty flavor of chestnuts and is inspired by European-style hot chocolate – thick, rich and just sweet enough. It’s a decadent treat with some toasted brioche for dipping – and all the dessert you need.
What are your favorite things to make for Hanukkah?
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