Festive Chanukah Dinner Recipes
There always must be something to remind us about miracles that happened to us. And there always must be something to give us some time for enjoying those pleasant memories. It looks like nothing could combine these two features more perfectly than some festival. Such as Chanukah.
Even our early preparations for this holiday seem to be pervaded with an unexplainable expectation of a wonder. It comes to you while you’re looking for the best place to put a menorah, or when you’re anticipating the family reunion. You can feel it while purchasing presents for your dearest and nearest, or when planning a menu for a lavish Chanukah dinner.
Let this feeling inspire you to throw a wonderful celebration this year! As there are still a few days left to December 12, it’s the right time to check out some delicious Chanukah recipes.
All seasoned with the centuries-old traditions, which modern Jews still uphold, these dishes not only please your guests’ palates. Historically, Chanukah treats have special meanings. And we are here to learn more about them and make your 8-day celebrations even more flavorful and cozy.
Find the best kosher recipes here! While Marky’s is going to provide you with the freshest products of excellent quality.
You’ll Definitely Need (More) Cheese
Let’s add something cheesy to your holiday menu. Certainly, cheese proves to be a very versatile ingredient in any dinner. But there’s actually a whole story behind serving it for Chanukah celebrations.
As we know, the holiday commemorates the Maccabean revolt, when Jews, led by Mattathias the Maccabee and his sons, managed to drive Greeks and Syrians from their lands. So, along with the great deeds of the Maccabees we can’t but remember about what one courageous woman did to save her home town from the Assyrian warriors.
Her name was Judith. One night she came to the Assyrian camp and brought some salty cheese and wine to the leader of the troops, Holofernes. The cheese made Holofernes thirsty, and witty Judith gave him wine to quench his thirst. The drunk warrior fell asleep. Judith seized his own sword and beheaded him. She came back to her town with Holofernes’ head, and the frightened Assyrians, who found their leader dead in the morning, hurried to leave.
That’s how this very dairy product got incorporated into the traditional Chanukah menu. And this tangy cheesy salad with pears and walnuts will perfectly accompany all the other holiday treats.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 2 medium cooked beets (cut them into 1/2-inch cubes)
- 8 c. lettuce
- 1 large Anjou pear (core and slice it)
- 1/4 c. toasted walnuts (chopped coarsely) or try these caramelized walnuts
- 3 sticks Mozzarella cheese (cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
- 1 1/2 oz. thinly sliced Gouda cheese (about 5 slices)
- 1/2 tsp. toasted and crushed coriander seeds, to taste
Directions for the dressing:
- Whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl.
- Whisk in oil and blend. Set the dressing aside.
Directions for the salad mix:
- Combine cubed beets and 1 tbsp. dressing in a small bowl.
- In another larger bowl, toss lettuce with the rest of dressing.
- Add sliced pear, cut cheeses, chopped walnuts.
- Sprinkle with crushed coriander and serve.
Make Sure You’ve Bought Enough Oil
Because you do know you’ll need quite much of it for traditional Chanukah latkes!
Besides, oil carries a symbolic meaning in the context of this holiday. After the Maccabees and their people entered the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, in shambles and desecrated, they cleansed it and wanted to light the menorah. But the only jar of pure oil they miraculously discovered was not enough to keep the flame of the candles until the new supply could be brought to the Temple.
Yet, the Jews lit the menorah, and the candles were burning for eight days. As long as it took to deliver more oil. That is why we celebrate the holiday for eight days. By the way, the word “Chanukah” or “Hanukkah” means rededication. That reminds us that the Maccabees rededicated the Holy Temple to one G-d.
Back to our culinary theme, we recommend that you select your favorite latkes recipe but try these compelling and tasty toppings. So, make sure you’ll have enough latkes in reserve, as with these toppings from Melissa Clark your guests will definitely ask you to serve more and more:
- You can spoon some cream cheese over each latke, place a slice of smoked salmon on it and top it with salmon roe. But what if you toss the cheese and fish into the mixer and make a scrumptious spread? That would be great as well. Just spoon it onto latkes and add a few beads of roe.
- Or you can sprinkle your crispy latkes with Gorgonzola cheese and top them with some fig condiment. That’s going to me a magnificent combination!
- If you can’t choose from apple, pumpkin or pear puree, place the jars filled with each of them on the table, so your guests could put a dollop or two on the latkes. Don’t forget to serve some creme fraiche and pepper as well. The fruit, creamy and spicy flavor will perfectly accompany each other.
Check This Piquant Idea of the Best Chanukah Beef Brisket
A brisket is certainly going to be the main course of the festive dinner. Traditionally, this dish is related to poverty cuisine. Most Jews couldn’t afford to buy “tender” meat, like ribs or chuck. As Gil Marks writes in his Encyclopedia of Jewish Cuisine, they had to learn how to deal with less expensive and desirable beef.
So, that’s where all festive baked briskets come from. Today you can flavor this dish with everything, from bourbon to fruit purees. By the way, why not look at some really interesting combinations?
After you rub the meat with some salt, pepper, paprika, and cinnamon and refrigerate it for 2 hours, in a pot cook a garlic and onion mixture in grapeseed oil. After you transfer ready garlic and onions onto a plate, add more oil to the pot.
Then put cooled brisket into it, along with
- chopped tomatoes (3)
- chopped carrots (2)
- chopped celery (3 stalks)
- soy sauce (1/2 c.)
- and balsamic vinegar (2 tbsp.)
- beef stock (8 c.)
- some bourbon (1/2 c.)
- brown sugar (1/2 c. or to taste)
- and thyme leaves.
Over high heat bring it all to simmer. Then cover the pot with foil and put into the oven. You should bake the brisket for 4,5 hours, until the meat gets tender but still holds the shape. After its ready, transfer it to a separate platter and tent with more foil.
Strain the braising liquid that remains in the pot and set aside 1/2 cup of it. Cook the remaining liquid for about 15 minutes more. Meanwhile, combine the 1/2 cup of braising liquid together with peach preserve and 1 tbsp. bourbon in a blender to make the dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.
As the meat gets cooler, score the fat side with a knife. Make 1/4-inch-deep narrow cuts in a crosshatch manner. Return the brisket to the pot as soon as the braising liquid reduces, with the meaty part submerged in the liquid.
Add the garlic and onion mixture as well as the peach dressing (3-4 tbsp.) and glaze the brisket. Meanwhile, preheat the broiler and broil the meat for 4-5 minutes, until the glaze gets brownish.
And a Finishing Touch Must Be Sweet
Of course, real Chanukah celebrations can never go without traditional jelly doughnuts or sufganiyots. They should be cooked in a large amount of oil, and that again reminds us about the historical roots of the holiday.
If you have literally two minutes to come up with a good idea of a Chanukah dessert, try these 10-minute-cooking donuts!
Buy a few packages of refrigerator biscuits in advance. Make sure you have enough raspberry jam or any other jam you like. Also, you’ll need some vegetable oil.
Heat about 2 inches of oil in a large pot and separate the biscuits into similar rounds. Fry the rounds until they get golden brown (1-2 minutes). Flip them one time.
As the rounds are ready, transfer them to a separate plate or wire rack and let cool. Now you need to fill pastry bag with jam and poke a small hole in each donut with a tip to fill their centers. Sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar and serve warm.
Enjoy your cozy Chanukah dinner!
Chag Sameach to Everyone!