NEW YORK (JTA) – The sweetest time of year is upon us, quite literally: It’s Rosh Hashanah. And while I know most families have their standard holiday dishes they make year after year, sometimes it’s nice to swap in a new appetizer, alternative main dish or quick but delicious new dessert to serve.
Trade in your beet and apple salad for some sweet beet latkes. Instead of a brisket, try a slow-cooked pomegranate lamb stew. And if you want the easiest, cutest apple dessert, you’ve got to try my friend Sheri Silver’s easy as apple pie cookies.
Wishing you and your family a sweet and delicious new year.
Appetizer: Beet and Sweet Potato Latkes
There’s no reason to save latkes for Hanukkah. And beets are actually a traditional food to enjoy for the New Year, which makes these appetizers the perfect symbolic, sweet and satisfying dish.
2 medium beets
1 small sweet potato (can also use 2 carrots)
1 medium Idaho potato
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Additional sea salt for sprinkling.
Peel beets, sweet potato and potato. Cut each in half. In 3 or 4 batches, place vegetables through food processor for a coarse grate (you can also grate coarsely by hand).
Place mixture in a large bowl. Add eggs, flour, thyme and salt.
Heat around 1/4 cup vegetable oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Form bite-size mounds of latkes, taking care not to squeeze too much liquid out of the latkes. Fry until brown and crispy on each side, then place on a wire rack on top of a baking sheet to cool. Immediately sprinkle with an additional pinch of salt while they are still hot.
Serve warm with applesauce, if desired.
Main Dish: Lamb Stew with Pomegranate
Brisket is the quintessential American Jewish dish for holidays. But in Israel and for Sephardi Jews, lamb is a far more common main dish to serve for special occasions. This lamb is sweet and savory, and actually takes less time to cook than a brisket. It’s perfect to serve on top of fluffy couscous or rice, and it’s particularly striking due to the jewel-toned pomegranate seeds and fresh herbs on top.
3 pounds lamb stew meat, cut into 2- to 4-inch pieces
1 large onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3 cinnamon sticks
2 1/2-3 cups water or stock
3 tablespoons pomegranate molasses, plus extra for drizzling
1 cup pomegranate seeds, divided
Fresh parsley, mint and/or cilantro for serving
Heat a heavy casserole with a little oil over medium-high heat. Sear lamb pieces on each side until lightly golden.
Add onion and saute until translucent. Add garlic and saute for another 3 minutes.
Place lamb back into the pot and add salt, pepper, cinnamon stick, pomegranate molasses and half the pomegranate seeds.
Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups water or stock, until meat is covered. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to low-medium, cover and continue to cook over low heat for about 2 hours. Check on stew periodically, and add more water if needed. Lamb should be fork tender when it is done.
Serve stew over couscous or rice. Drizzle top of stew with additional pomegranate molasses (around 1-2 tablespoons), the remaining pomegranate seeds and freshly chopped herbs such as parsley, mint and/or cilantro.
Sheri Silver’s Easy
Apple Pie Cookies
This recipe comes straight from a dear friend and colleague, who always knows just how to make dessert super easy, super adorable and super delicious. The secret to these cookies is a rich crumble topping and store-bought pie crust.
For the streusel:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
For the filling:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Juice from one lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 store-bought refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature.
Make the streusel: Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl, breaking up any large clumps, and spread onto your baking sheet. Set aside to dry (can be made a day ahead; store covered at room temperature).
Make the filling: Combine the filling ingredients in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring until the mixture comes to a simmer. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the apples are slightly softened. Remove from heat, drain the liquid and cool completely (may be made a day ahead; store in the fridge).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup muffin tin or line with parchment paper cups. Unroll your pie crust and use a glass or cookie cutter to cut circles that are slightly larger – about 1/4 inch – than the base of your muffin cups (I used a 2 1/2-inch cutter).
Place the circles in the bottom of each muffin cup, pressing gently along the sides and bottoms. Spoon some apple filling into each crust and top with the streusel.
Bake cookies for 20 minutes, or until streusel is golden brown. Cool completely in tins on a wire rack. Serve immediately or store, covered, for up to 3 days.