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Recipes for Tu B'Shvat

May 9, 2009 | by Phyllis Glazer

Delicious, healthy holiday cuisine based on natural ingredients, with dishes that reflect ancient traditions.

An excerpt from the revolutionary cookbook, The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking, by Phyllis Glazer with Miriyam Glazer

Serves 6

In this recipe there are fruits from the world of Action, with the pomegranate as the fruit with a protective outer skin and an edible interior; the world of Formation, with olives and prunes as the fruit whose seed represents the ability to create life, and grapes (in the form of wine) from the world of Creation -- a fruit used in its entirety, with nothing wasted.

3- 3 1/2 pound whole chicken, in six pieces or chicken breasts with skin left on
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
8 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tablespoon capers in brine, drained
1 cup green olives, pitted
1 cup pitted prunes, packed
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup pomegranate molasses
4-6 sprigs fresh oregano or thyme
1/2 cup dark brown sugar or honey
1 cup dry red wine

Rinse the chicken and place the pieces in a bowl. Cover with boiling water. Lift one piece of chicken out at a time, and scrape the surface gently with a knife to remove pinfeathers and excess fat. Pat dry and place the pieces in one layer in a non-reactive (preferably glass) oven-to-table dish.

Mix together the olive oil, garlic cloves, capers, olives, pitted prunes, vinegar, and pomegranate molasses and pour over the chicken. Tear each sprig of oregano or thyme into 2 -3 pieces and place around the chicken. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight, turning once or twice.

Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees.

Mix the brown sugar with the wine and pour over the chicken. Turn pieces skin side up. Remove half the sprigs of fresh herbs. Cover the chicken and bake for 45 minutes, turning once. Remove the cover and continue to bake until the chicken pieces are a rich golden brown - another 15-20 minutes.

4-6 servings

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 Tbsp. oil
2 cups long-grain rice
scant 4 cups water
half tsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste

half cup pine nuts, toasted in olive oil
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
3 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh n parsley
Seasoned Currants (recipe follows)

Saute the onions in oil till golden, stirring often. Add the rice and cinnamon and saute, stirring, an additional minute. Add the water and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Stir in the rest of the ingredients with a fork. Transfer to a serving bowl or platter and garnish of Seasoned Currants (recipe follows).

1 cup currants
1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar
4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. freshly chopped thyme
2 garlic cloves, crushed
freshly ground black pepper

Mix the remaining oil with the currants, vinegar, thyme and garlic. Season with a generous amount of coarsely ground black pepper. Let stand at least 4 hours before serving.

Serves 8

In ancient times, dried fruit provided an important source of nourishment during the winter and times of scarcity. A richly-flavored and comforting dish, this casserole of dried fruits makes a superb warm breakfast, snack or dessert throughout the holiday.

NOTE: Since most dried fruit is preserved with sulfur dioxide, it's best to look for organic fruit. If unavailable, immerse the fruit in boiling water for one minute, rinse and pat dry to help remove sulfur dioxide and/or oil coatings.

2 cups packed of each: pitted prunes, dried pear or peach halves, small black mission or other figs
1 cup golden raisins
5 3/4 cups bottled or canned white grape juice
2 bananas, sliced
1 1/2 cups fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
Pinch ground ginger, or 1 thin slice fresh ginger

Rinse the fruit and snip off the tips of the figs with kitchen shears. Place in a very large bowl or non-reactive pot and cover with the grape juice. Add ginger (or a cinnamon stick, if preferred). Place a heavy plate on top, and press down to immerse the fruit. Let stand overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350?F.

Transfer the fruit and juice to a casserole with a cover and arrange the sliced bananas on top. Mix the orange juice and honey and pour over the top. Cover and bake for one hour. Serve warm, as is or with sorbet.


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