Growing up in an Ashkenazi Jewish family, Rosh Hashanah more often than not meant eating slices of fork-tender brisket and plates of sliced apples and honey. Over time our menu has grown and changed and we’ve incorporated foods from Jews living around the world and far beyond our eastern European roots.
A good source of inspiration that I recently found is Leah Koenig’s Little Book of Jewish Feasts, which just came out this summer and brings together recipes from across the diaspora. The pocket-sized cookbook includes the festive dish, Chicken with Quince and Almonds, which is more than appropriate for serving at New Year’s celebrations. “Related to apples and pears, quinces come into season in autumn, and they are a hallmark of High Holiday meals across Sephardi and Mizrahi cuisines,” she writes in the recipe’s note. “They possess an intoxicating floral fragrance, a starchy, potato-like texture, and, when braised, a gentle flavor that pairs wonderfully with braised chicken. In this version, a splash of apple cider vinegar and a drizzle of honey gives the dish a bright sweetness that would stand out on the Rosh Hashanah table.”
The unique combination of flavorful ingredients will no doubt be a hit with your friends and family as they welcome year 5779. You can serve the brisket next year!
- .5 cup Sliced almonds
- 3 large Quinces, peeled, cored, and sliced into half-inch wedges
- 4 lb Skin-on chicken thighs and legs, patted dry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp Vegetable oil, plus more as needed
- 1 large Onion, halved through the root and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Ground cinnamon
- 1 cup Chicken stock
- .25 cup Apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp Honey
- .5 tsp Saffron threads, crushed
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving
- Put the almonds in a small sauté pan set over medium-low heat and toast, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool; set aside.
- Layer the quince wedges on the bottom of a large casserole dish; set aside. (The quince will turn brown as it oxidizes—that is okay.) Sprinkle the chicken pieces on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat the 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large sauté pan set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the chicken pieces, starting skin-side down and flipping once, until browned on both sides, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. If the bottom of the pan begins to look dry, add a little more oil, as needed. Layer the browned chicken pieces on top of the quince.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F, then make the braising liquid: Set the same sauté pan you used to brown the chicken over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and cook for 1 minute.
- Whisk together the stock, vinegar, honey, saffron, and a half tsp of salt in a medium bowl. Add the mixture to the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat to high, bring to a boil, then carefully pour the braising liquid over the chicken and quinces. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and cook in the oven until the chicken is fork-tender, 50 to 55 minutes. Remove from the heat and let rest.
- Meanwhile, transfer one-and-a-half cups of the braising liquid to a saucepan set over high heat, and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid reduces by two-thirds, 10 to 15 minutes. Spoon the reduced sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with toasted almonds and parsley. Serve hot. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reprinted from Little Book of Jewish Feasts by Leah Koenig with permission by Chronicle Books, 2018.