With most holiday meals, you're pressured to go all out on a single day. Hanukkah has the benefit of lasting for eight days, which gives you over a week to eat your fill. After the crazy stress of Thanksgiving it's nice to slow down and try a variety of dishes at a slower pace. To keep you satisfied through all eight nights of Hanukkah we've collected 15 savory recipes, from festive mains like sous vide rack of lamb and whole roasted fish, to parve soups, salads, and sides.
Lamb is a fairly lean meat, which makes it susceptible to overcooking. Rather than risk ruining a nice rack of lamb on the stove, we recommend cooking it sous vide to guarantee that it comes out perfectly medium-rare. Don't have a sous vide circulator? You can get results that are just as good with a beer cooler and a thermometer.
If you paid attention to last week's roast roundup, you know that we're big believers in the reverse sear. One of the most surefire ways to properly cook a big piece of meat is to roast it at a very low temperature until it's just about done and then searing it in an oven cranked up as hot as you can get it. The technique is perfect for this leg of lamb stuffed with garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest.
If you're not in the mood to make lamb, our chicken schnitzel is always a crowd-pleaser, and it's pretty simple. All you have to do is pound chicken breasts, brine them for maximum juiciness, and fry them in a coating of homemade breadcrumbs. You might be tempted to deep-fry the chicken, but pan-frying is easier, and flipping the schnitzel more than once ensures even browning.
Whole roasted fish is a Hanukkah classic that seems much more intimidating to prepare than it actually is. Pick out a fresh fish and have your fishmonger clean it for you—after that it's just a matter of brining it in salt water, stuffing the cavity with aromatics, and roasting for about 25 minutes. Take a look at our carving guide to make sure the fish ends up looking as good as it tastes.
Parve Soups, Salads, and Sides
You absolutely can't celebrate Hanukkah without latkes. A perfect latke should have a plump center that tapers down to wispy edges and a deeply browned crust. This classic recipe is made with russet potatoes, onion, eggs, and matzo meal. If you're willing to break with tradition, try some of our unusual latke variations.
You're going to need some applesauce to serve with those latkes. You could go with the stuff from a jar, but perfect latkes deserve the best homemade applesauce. Cinnamon and orange peel compliment the apple flavor without getting in the way, and an optional dash of rosewater ups the sauce's floral taste.
This vegetarian salad is hearty enough to be a whole meal thanks to the combination of chewy wheat berries, tender roasted beets, and crunchy pecans. In addition to the roasted beet root, we also sauté the leaves and stems and mix them in. Bright pickled apples keep the salad from feeling too heavy.
Another make-ahead option, this salad combines roasted butternut squash with roasted kale in a sweet maple vinaigrette. Crunchy pecans and chewy dried cranberries add some textural contrast. Feel free to eat this right after making it, but it will get even better if it sits in the fridge for a night.
When roasting cauliflower we like to use high heat, which caramelizes the brassica and brings out its sweet, nutty flavor. It's a good idea to cut the cauliflower into thick wedges to maximize the contrast between crisp edges and tender interior. You could finish it with a drizzle of olive oil and call it a day, but for something more festive try a vinaigrette made with pine nuts, raisins, and capers.
Like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts should be cooked hot and fast. A hot oven will make them wonderfully sweet and nutty, but deep-frying them is even better. The edges of the leaves get super crispy—perfect for catching a sweet-tart dressing made with honey and balsamic vinegar.
I love the earthy flavor of roasted beets, but they take forever to cook. Wrapping the beets in foil before throwing them in the oven makes them steam and cook faster. There are tons of ways to serve beets—here we make them into a refreshing salad with grapefruit and orange segments, pine nuts, and a sherry vinaigrette.
This mushroom soup is so creamy that you might not believe it's parve. The trick to the texture is bulking up the porcini, shiitake, and white mushroom base with white bread, which serves as an emulsifier. Be careful at the supermarket, though—a lot of shelf-stable white bread contains either milk solids or whey.
I've always felt that lentil soup can be a little boring, but this version has plenty of flavor thanks to gremolata, an Italian condiment made with lemon zest, parsley, and garlic. We sauté some of the gremolata with the vegetables and drizzle the rest on top of the finished soup.
The secret to this soup is a sauce similar to gremolata that we make with crushed pistachios, orange zest, scallions, mint, and olive oil. It adds brightness and tons of depth to an already-tasty sweet potato soup. The soup can be made with chicken or vegetable stock—if you go with the latter, the recipe is parve.
We wanted to get the most intense vegetable flavor possible for this soup, so instead of using water as the base for a roasted squash soup we used bright raw carrot juice instead. The soup gets a simple garnish of fresh chopped parsley and crunchy toasted pumpkin seeds.
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