A sweet start to the Jewish New Year
No food is more representative of Rosh Hashanah than apples and honey. An apple-honey chutney and a chicken liver pate are two dishes to enjoy for the Jewish holiday.
Savory-Sweet Apple-Honey Chutney
Store this savory-sweet chutney in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator for up to a week. I use pungent cardamom in many of my chutneys to enhance the depth of flavor, but the spice is quite expensive and difficult to find in most markets. Feel free to leave it out and proceed with the recipe as directed.
1 cup red wine vinegar
1½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped
½ cup minced sweet onion
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1 star anise
2 cardamom pods, crushed (optional)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/3 cup dried currants
2 Tablespoons honey
Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium and add the salt. Simmer for 5 minutes before adding the apples, onion, anise, cardamom pods, raisins and currants. Stir mixture well and allow to return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the chutney until the sauce thickens and apples are very tender (about 25 minutes). Remove from heat and mix in the honey. Cool to room temperature before storing.
Updated: October 9, 2012 5:14PM
My mom used to make Pfeffernusse to honor our German heritage during the holiday season.
Sure, that sounds like a lovely tradition, but these quarter-sized, black pepper-infused, ginger cookies were never big sellers at our house.
Unfortunately, a single batch would yield somewhere in the neighborhood of three million cookies. The little buggers would rattle around in a poinsettia-clad tin in the back of our pantry for months before turning rock hard and making a dreaded mid-February appearance in our school lunches. Not that I have anything against a sturdy nod to culinary heritage, but ever since choking down more than my fair share of stale holiday cookies, I’ve found myself seeking out the softer side of culinary traditions.
Shortly after finishing culinary school, I had the opportunity to work as a personal chef for a family who celebrated the Christian holidays I was familiar with, but also celebrated all Jewish high holidays, too. The balance demonstrated by one family allowed me to explore the thoughtful culinary traditions peppered throughout Jewish holiday celebrations.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, provides ample opportunity for cooks to marry flavor and tradition. Upon learning that carrots signify abundance in the New Year, I was inspired to float parsley-dusted matzo balls in a vibrant carrot soup; bringing the concept of being surrounded by abundance to delicious fruition. Garnishing salads with pomegranate seeds signified the many good deeds that should be done in the New Year and round, raisin-studded challah breads evokes the cycle of a single year. However, nothing is more synonymous with Rosh Hashanah than apples and honey, which represent the sweetness of the New Year.
To stick with tradition, I’d suggest offering an assortment of apple wedges to dip in several different honey varieties. A honey tasting, like a wine tasting, will allow the subtle flavor differences in various honeys to shine.
To bring out the complexity of the relationship between honey and apples, give my chutney a try. Pair it with a braised brisket and challah bread or serve it alongside traditional chopped liver and toasted rye bread to create an indulgent appetizer at your Rosh Hashanah celebration.
Either way, the perfection and grace of Jewish culinary traditions will have you reconsidering the significance of the fare at your holiday table as you celebrate Rosh Hashanah next week.~.