Tu B’Shvat: 7 Species Menu
Celebrate with these incredibly tasty dishes.
Tu B’Shvat is the New Year for the trees. It’s time to celebrate the seven species of Israel, wheat, barley, olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates. I’m making this seven species menu. If you like, make a traditional Tu B’Shvat Seder and serve 4 cups of wine with the seven species of fruit.
Chicken with Roasted Figs and Dates
Serves 4, can be doubled
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 chicken, cut in 1/8’s
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 large shallots, sliced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 10 figs, stems trimmed, halved
- 1 cup pitted dates
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup water, vinegar, and cornstarch. Whisk in honey and set aside. Sprinkle chicken on both sides with ¾ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil over medium heat. Brown chicken, skin side down for about 6 minutes. Turn over and brown on the other side for 3 more minutes. Transfer chicken to plate and set aside.
Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan and return it to moderate heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add cornstarch mixture, oregano, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and pepper. Cook until mixture bubbles, about 2 minutes and is slightly thickened. Return chicken to pan, skin side up and add figs and dates to pan. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes, until figs are soft and chicken is cooked through.
Serve chicken with sauce, figs and a sprinkle of fresh oregano or parsley.
Wine Braised Lamb Stew with Dried Fruit and Olives
Serves 6, doubles well
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 pounds lamb stew meat
- Kosher Salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 8 garlic cloves, halved
- 10 thyme sprigs, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup bold red wine, such as Zinfandel
- 1/2 cup dried cherries (3 ounces) or other dried fruit like apples, chopped
- 1/2 cup dried apricots (3 ounces), quartered
- 2 cups beef broth or chicken broth
- ½ cup pitted olives
- Couscous or barley for serving
In a Dutch oven, heat the olive oil. Season the lamb with salt and pepper and rub them all over with the coriander. Add the lamb to the skillet along with the garlic cloves and 10 thyme sprigs and cook over high heat, turning once, until the lamb is browned and the garlic cloves are browned in spots, about 6 minutes.
Add the red wine, dried cherries and dried apricots to the skillet and bring to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the wine is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Add the beef broth and bring to a boil. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until the lamb is tender and the sauce is thick and glossy, about 50 - 60 minutes; stir once or twice during cooking. Discard the thyme sprigs before serving. Sprinkle with olives. Serve over couscous.
This can be made a day ahead of time. Skim fat and rewarm before serving.
Couscous with Lemon and Golden Raisins
Can be made with Israeli couscous or barley. After pan is covered, reduce heat to simmer and cook until liquid is absorbed.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 3/4 cup water
- 1-1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
- 1 (10-oz) box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
- ½ cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
- Zest from 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
- ¼ cup toasted nuts, optional
Cook onion in 1 tablespoon oil in a 2- to 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for about 30 seconds. Add water and broth and bring to a boil.
Stir in couscous and raisins, then cover and remove from heat. Let couscous stand, covered, 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice. Add remaining tablespoon oil and nuts, and salt and pepper to taste.
Rainbow Chopped Salad
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
- 1/2 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 cup hazelnut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
- 6 cups chopped romaine hearts
- 4 cups sliced red cabbage
- 1 large Fuji apple, halved, cored, diced
- 1 Asian pear, halved, cored, diced
- 1 mango, peeled, diced, or 2 persimmons, peeled, seeded, diced
- 3/4 cup pecans, toasted, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
For the dressing: Whisk vinegar, shallot, and honey in small bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
For the salad: Combine romaine and other salad ingredients in very large bowl; toss to blend. Add dressing and toss to coat.
Almond Poundcake with Dried Fruit Compote
Makes 3 loaf cakes, Serves 30
- 4 cups cake flour
- 1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon regular salt
- 4 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter or margarine, room temperature
- 3 cups superfine sugar *
- 8 eggs
- ¾ cup whole milk or non-dairy creamer or soymilk for low-fat version
- 2 teaspoons almond extract
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 3 loaf pans with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
In a mixer, beat butter/margarine until light and fluffy and then add the sugar on low speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended and scraping the bowl throughout the process.
In a small bowl, mix the milk/creamer, almond extract, and vanilla together. Reduce the speed of the mixer to low and alternately add the flour mixture wand the milk mixture to the creamed butter/margarine mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Mix until blended; do not over mix.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans and bake until a tester is clean, about 30 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes. Take out of pans and cool completely.
Serve poundcake with dried fruit compote, recipe follows.
To make superfine sugar, if you cannot find it at your local market: 1 cup plus 2 teaspoons of white sugar in the food processor for 30 seconds. This gives you one cup of superfine sugar
Dried Fruit Compote
Serves 8 – 10
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- 1/2 cup dried apricots, quartered
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cherries or other dried fruit
- Dash kosher salt
- 1 cup Granny Smith apples, diced 1/4-inch thick cubes
- 1 cup pears, 1/4-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a 4-quart saucepan or pot bring the wines, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to a simmer. Stir slowly to dissolve the sugar in the liquid. Add the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice. When the liquid comes to a boil, adjust the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes to marry the flavors and soften the fruit. Turn off the heat then stir in the lemon juice. With a slotted spoon remove the fruit to a bowl. Bring the remaining syrup to a simmer and reduce until lightly thickened or when the bubbles formed on the top become small. Remove the syrup from the heat and when it is cool pour it over the fruit. The compote can be held in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve.
Serve fruit and juices atop pound cake. Or pour warmed or room temperature compote and juice over pareve ice cream.
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