Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Let My People Eat

It's that time of year again. Yes, it's Pesach. Or Passover. Or, if you come from Holland, the unfortunately misnamed "Jewish Easter" (You cannot make that up.)

Which means one week of:

Yes, to remember that escape from slavery and hardship, we eat unleavened bread which tastes like cardboard. Which means that we start finding tons of faux food recipes to use matzoh in a creative and tasty way. There's matzoh lasagne, matzoh peanut brittle, matzoh meal cakes and the ever popular matzoh brei, which causes more arguments among people as to it's preparation than there are types of pizza in this country.

I myself alternate between a savory onion and mushroom version and a sweet version with maple syrup. Of course there was the time I made it with kimchi and daikon:

People will do anything to cover up the taste of matzoh for the week. (Except for the Dutch, who eat the stuff year round because they love it and they're not even Jewish. What is WITH that country?)  

But the thing is, it's supposed to be tasteless and a hardship to eat. It's supposed to make us reflect on what it symbolizes. And it's for one lousy week, not 40 years. Not only is faux food just naturally annoying, it covers up the true meaning of the holiday.  

But in the interest of using matzoh effectively during the week, let me share a recipe that I developed during my Retro Ska Librarian Days. It's not entirely unhealthy, but let's face it: matzoh is just one big carb cracker. But you can change it up.

I made this up one day after I read about chicken cooked over bread. I figured it was a worth a try and it is now the hit of many seders.

The Streamlined Ska Librarian's Chicken with Matzoh "Stuffing"  

  • Chicken parts (preferably with skin)  
  • Matzoh (enough sheets to make two layers in the pan)  
  • Olive oil 
  • Onions, sliced thin 
  • Garlic, chopped  
  • Lemons, sliced thin (with peel)  
  • Rosemary  
  • Thyme  
  • Salt & Pepper to taste   

 You'll notice I don't list measurements. This is really a "use what you need" kind of recipe.  

1. Combine oil, onions, garlic, lemon, rosemary and thyme in large ziploc bag. Add chicken and coat thoroughly. Let sit in marinade in refrigerator for a 1-2 hours.
I only have small baggies, so it was divided into two
2. Preheat oven to 350.  

3. Layer two layers of matzoh in the bottom of a roasting pan or baking dish, interspersed with some of the marinade. Place chicken and rest of marinade on top. Salt and pepper to taste.
I'm using whole wheat matzoh. It has a semblance of healthier eating!
4. Roast for about 70-90 minutes or until chicken is done.  

5. Remove chicken. Scramble matzoh and marinade together to form a "stuffing."
Mmm...the marinade and chickeny goodness form a combo of crispiness and hearty dumpling-like quality. This would most likely work well with many kinds of meat.

Happy Passover!


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