It’s sweet, it’s sticky and it is a constant on the dinner table for Rosh HaShanah. Honey is drizzled on apples, challah and fingers throughout the Jewish holiday, virtually guaranteeing a sweet-filled year. From swirling a tablespoon in tea to slathering it on a scone or biscuit, honey has many sweet applications. But don’t reserve the golden, syrupy liquid just for dessert: pair honey with anything from poultry to vegetables to grains results in a tasty and no-less-symbolic dish for the High Holy Days.
Honey can go with “just about anything,” said Levana Kirschenbaum, cookbook author and former owner of an eponymous New York restaurant. “Glazed carrots with ginger would work very well with a little honey, or orange juice, chicken tagine with prunes and almonds would be great with honey,” she said. “Even a little honey in a salad dressing to offset the acidity.”
Joan Nathan, award-winning cookbook author of works such as “The Jewish Holiday Kitchen” and “Jewish Cooking in America,” said she will often “smear [honey] on chicken” along with a variety of spices, since “it caramelizes it.” She also includes honey in tzimmes, a traditional carrot dish, or with brisket cooked with dried fruit. And some people, she said, “put honey in cholent.”
And while the traditional honey found on most supermarket shelves is neutral in flavor, there are many varieties available in well-stocked or speciality stores.
“I love the buckwheat [honey],” Kirschenbaum said. “It has this very rugged, very intense taste.”
“I always have on my table date honey,” said Nathan. “And even though it’s “really not honey at all,” but a syrup derived from the fruit, it is actually believed to be the ‘honey’ referred to in the Bible, and eaten by Jews of that period. “It wasn’t until maybe the Crusades that the Franciscans brought honey bees to Israel, to Palestine,” Nathan said.
Carrot Ginger Soup
Courtesy of Levana Kirschenbaum’s “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen.”
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large red onions, quartered
2-inch piece ginger, grated
1 tbs. curry, a little more
if you like it hotter
3 large carrots, grated (about 4
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
3 quarts (12 cups) water
½ cup millet (or other quick-cooking grain: steel-cut oats, teff, amaranth, etc.)
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbs. orange zest
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste.
Heat the oil in heavy pot. In a food processor, coarsely grind the onions and add to the hot oil. Reduce the flame to medium and fry, stirring occasionally until very dark brown. This step will take about 20 minutes. Add the ginger and curry and cook, stirring 2 more minutes. Add all but last ingredient. Bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium and cook covered for 30 minutes. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Makes a dozen ample servings.
Courtesy of Joan Nathan’s “The Jewish Holiday Kitchen.”
2 tsp. water
1 cup breadcrumbs or matzah meal
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
Two 3-pound fryer chickens, cut up
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup hot water
1/4 cup honey
1 cup orange juice
2 tbs. grated fresh ginger
or 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
Beat the eggs with 2 teaspoons water. In a separate bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with the salt and pepper. Dip the chicken, one piece at a time, in to the egg mixture then the breadcrumb mixture.
Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and brown the chicken pieces on all sides, them remove to a casserole dish.
Heat the oven to 325 F.
Mix the hot water with the honey, orange juice and ginger. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Bake for 45 minutes, basting occasionally.But don’t reserve the golden, syrupy liquid just for dessert: pair honey with anything from poultry to vegetables to grains results in a tasty and no-less-symbolic dish for the High Holy Days.