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Posted: April 12, 2014 7:00 a.m.

Make Jewish cuisine part of your Passover

To cook up a traditional, juicy, slow-roasted brisket for Passover, which begins Monday, April 14, it may not be known that a staple ingredient is usually ketchup, beer or Coca Cola. Passover can be summed up as a time to tell stories and eat. To tell the story of how the Hebrew slaves left Egypt in such haste they didn’t have time to put yeast in their bread, scared the Pharaoh would change his mind, letting it cook on their backs into unrisen, cracker-like matzoh. To eat in celebration and symbolism of their release from slavery and the parting of the Red Sea by welcoming guests and any less fortunate who cannot otherwise attend a seder.

The story is ages old, but the dinner and its ingredients can be found in any store. And while Grandma may cook the best brisket, it’s hard to go wrong with meat, potatoes and ketchup.

Coca Cola brisket

-6 lbs beef brisket
-1 packet dry Lipton onion soup mix
-1 bottle Heinz chili sauce
-12 oz Coca Cola
-Potatoes, carrots, onions chopped up
(optional and to your desired amount)

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Put meat in a large casserole dish fat side up. Spread chili sauce over meat. Sprinkle packet of onion soup on top. Pierce meat with a fork all over. Add 6 oz of the Coke. Cover pan with foil and cook for 3-4 hours, until tender to a fork. Add remainder of Coke and vegetables halfway through cooking.
For both versions, let the brisket cool in the dish for about an hour then slice against the grain. You can cook longer to your preferred tenderness. Serves 10-12.
— Recipe by Joan Massre

Brisket with ketchup and beer

-6 lbs beef brisket
-1 lb carrots cut into large chunks
-2 large sliced yellow onions
-4 celery stalks cut up to your preferred size
-4 cloves garlic
-Salt and pepper to taste
-4 peeled potatoes cut into quarters or smaller
-1 bottle (regular size) ketchup (can substitute for chili sauce)
-1 bottle beer (anything you have in your fridge will do, just keep in mind the taste of a flavored or dark beer may not cook away as much)

Heat oven to 500 degrees. Put meat in a large casserole dish and cook for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Add cut up carrots, onions, celery, garlic, salt and pepper, chili sauce or ketchup and beer, covering and surrounding meat. Cover with foil and cook for 4 hours or until a fork goes easily into the meat. After about 2 ½ hours, add potatoes and some water to reduce the thickness.
— Recipe by Dolores Siegel

Chicken Soup with Matzo Dumplings Serves 4-6

For the broth
-1 leftover chicken carcass, all skin and fat removed
-2 Spanish onions,
-1 whole and unpeeled, the other peeled and chopped
-1 leek, coarsely chopped
-3 celery stalks, with leaves if possible, coarsely chopped
-4 bay leaves
-1 large spring of rosemary
-2 large sprigs of thyme
-1 large sprig of sage
-4 large sprigs of parsley
-12 white peppercorns
Note: You can use good-quality, low-salt kosher chicken stock cubes or bouillon powder, but the recipe above for homemade broth is recommended.
For the dumplings:
7 ounces medium matzo meal (about 8 matzo sheets, ground up)
3 eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
3 grindings of black pepper
2 pinches of salt
First, make the broth. Put the carcass in a large pot and cover with about 21/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the vegetables, herbs and peppercorns, return to a boil, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain, reserving the broth.
Make the dumplings by mixing all the dumpling ingredients together, then knead until you have a smooth dough, adding a little water if necessary. Cover and let rest for at least 3 hours.
Using your hands, form the mixture into balls the size of apricots. To put it all together, bring the chicken broth up to simmering point. Drop in the dumplings and continue simmering, covered, for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a chicken carcass, boil a whole chicken for the soup and use the meat in other dishes. Traditionally, a boiling fowl from a kosher butcher would be used.
— Recipe courtesy of Metro Creative Connection

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