Sephardic cuisine has Middle Eastern roots, so there's lots of spice and flavor in these holiday foods (often influenced by Jewish roots everywhere from Turkey to Spain and, naturally, Israel). A Sephardic spread actually tastes amazing, but if you are a Euro-jew, it's a completely different story. That usually means brisket (dry pot roast, always very exciting), bland roasted chicken (brine it, rub garlic on it, anything!) and maybe some sort of glazed carrot and roasted potato combo. Not exactly the stuff holiday food dreams are made out of.
So this year, why not serve Thomas Keller's infamous roast chicken? We bet that Wolfgang Puck's matzoh ball soup won't have giant chunks of barely cooked carrot floating around. Rosh Hashanah begins tonight at sundown, and we've secretly replaced Bubbi's recipes with those of celebrity chefs. Let's see what happens.
For a sweet year...forgo the usual, incredibly dense, honey cake, in favor of this Ethiopian honey bread by Marcus Samuelsson.
Although Wolfgang Puck's chicken soup uses store bought matzoh meal, the slow-cooked stock packs more of a flavor punch than your grandmother's 'old world' version.
Michael Symon's brisket recipe uses a Fresno chile to kick up the spice factor.
Jean-Georges Vongerichten's version of brisket includes an onion and chile jam.
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Grant Achatz rubs garlic butter under the skin of his roasted chicken, and stuffs the cavity with fresh thyme and more garlic.
Thomas Keller's roast chicken is always tender as can be, courtesy of his brining process, totally worth the extra steps for poultry heaven.
Ugh, those "glazed carrots" have simply got to go. Try out these roasted parsnips instead from Keller's Bouchon cookbook, they have a very similar taste profile.