4 Course Hanukkah Dinner Recipes

Cooking for the holidays can often times seem more monotonous than enjoyable. Eating the same thing every year can get stale making the process less than exhilarating. This year let us do the menu planning for you with traditional recipes reinvented with mediterranean influences. This gives you more time at the table with family and less time stressing over new ways to reinvent the wheel. L’chaim!

StartersTo get your Hanukkah started off right, warm up the crowd with a mediterranean twist on a jewish favorite. Tzatziki sauce is a yogurt based dip traditionally from Greece. When paired with zucchini and potatoes you get a light and refreshing starter that guests can snack on before the main course. When you bake your Latkes you achieve a crispy outer layer, baked through and perfect pancake with less oil.

Related: New Year’s Eve Fashion Guide

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Zucchini Potato Latkes
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 45 min
Makes 30
Ingredients

  • vegetable cooking spray
  • 2 pounds of russet potatoes, peeled and grated
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1 egg with yolk
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus extra for seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons for vegetable oil
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1 1/2 cups of tzatziki

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Lay the grated potatoes and zucchini on 2 paper towels
  • Bring the corners of the towels together and squeeze out the moisture from the vegetables
  • In a large bowl, place the vegetables and add the garlic, chopped rosemary, bread crumbs, egg whites, salt and pepper
  • Mix well until all the ingredients are combined
  • In a 12-inch skillet, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat
  • Add the vegetables to the pan and with a spatula, press the mixture evenly into the pan
  • Drizzle the top with olive oil and cook for eight minutes or until the edges of the mixture begin to brown
  • Slide the pancake with the cooked side down into a baking tray sprayed with vegetable oil cooking spray
  • Bake for 20 minutes to 25 minutes or until the top of the pancake starts to brown and the edges are crispy
  • Cut the pancake into 1 1/2-inch squares and arrange on a serving platter
  • Top with tzatiki sauce and rosemary for garnish

First CourseWhen it’s time to sit down for dinner, serve this simple no cook israeli salad. With just a few ingredients you can achieve an elegant dish with bold flavors. If you prefer a more traditional salad you can add a thick leafy green like spinach.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Israeli Salad
Prep Time: 10 min
Serves 6
Ingredients

  • 3 medium or 6 small Israeli cucumbers, chopped small
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, chopped small
  • 1/2 red onion (optional)
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped small
  • 1 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of balsamic oil
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  • Combine all of the ingredients together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste

Second CourseThere’s fewer things more comforting than matzo ball soup. This Hanukkah staple is served in many traditional jewish dinners. We recommend making the matzo balls the day before and making the broth the morning of. You can leave the carrots and celery for a more hearty soup, however, the broth makes this the perfect second course to warm you up before the grand finale.

Matzo Ball SoupMatzo Balls

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons of chicken fat
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons seltzer water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup unsalted matzo meal

Directions

  • Heat the chicken fat over medium heat in a small pan
  • Add the chives and cook for 30 seconds, set aside
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs, parsley, seltzer, sugar, salt and pepper
  • Whisk until combined
  • Add the matzo meal and the chicken fat mixture and stir to combine
  • Cover well and refrigerate for at least eight hours up to 24 hours
  • In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil over medium heat
  • Form the matzo mixture into eight equal size balls, add to the water, reduce the heat to simmer, cover and cook until tender (about 1 hour and 20 minutes)
  • Remove the matzo balls with a slotted spoon to the pot with the chicken stock and cook for five minutes before serving
  • Ladle the soup into individual bowls and serve

Chicken Stock

Ingredients

  • 2 large yellow onions, quarted
  • 3 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks of celery, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon white peppercorns
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 10 springs fresh thyme
  • 1 (3 pound chicken) chicken
  • 3 lbs chicken bones, neck included
  • water
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, roasted and slit (optional)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • chopped fresh dill leaves

Direction

  • In a large stockpot, combine all the ingredients, except for the jalapeno and add enough cold water to cover by 2-inches
  • Bring to a boil, over medium heat, then reduce to low and simmer, skimming the fat from the stock with a ladle, every 15 minutes, for 3 hours
  • After 3 hours, strain the liquid into a large bowl and discard the solids
  • Transfer the broth to a sauce pan and cook until reduced by half
  • Add the roasted jalapenos for the last 10 minutes or fo simmering, then remove
  • Season with salt, pepper and freshly chopped dill

Main CourseBraised Brisket is a staple in a traditional Hannukah celebration. Brisket is generally a less expensive cut of meat made tender by cooking over a long period of time. The flavors and juices infuse the meat and vegetables for a hearty main course. The addition of the harissa, a north african spice made from various red peppers and garlic, adds a bold punch to the brisket that keeps it from tasting earthy with the addition of the root vegetables.

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Braised Brisket With Root Vegetables
Prep Time 15 min
Cook 4 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 5 hours
Serves 8
Ingredients

  • one 4-pound beef brisket
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 teaspoons of fresh thyme
  • 1 cup of dry red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • one 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon of harissa
  • 1 1/2 pounds of baby red potatoes
  • 1 pound of carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch-long pieces

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit
  • Pat the brisket dry and season with 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large stove top safe roasting pan over medium heat
  • Add the brisket and cook until browned on all sides (about 10 minutes)
  • Transfer the brisket to a plate and set aside
  • Add the garlic, onions and thyme to the same pan and cook until the onions are soft and translucent (about 7 minutes)
  • Add the wine and 1/2 cup of water, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon
  • Add the tomatoes with the juice, the harissa, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste
  • Add the beef back into the pan along with any remaining juices and increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer
  • Remove the roasting pan from the heat and add in the potatoes and carrots around the brisket
  • Then tightly cover the pan with aluminum foil and roast for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, until the brisket is tender and easily pierced with a fork
  • Transfer the brisket to a cutting board and the vegetables to a serving platter
  • Cover and keep warm
  • For the sauces, skim the fat from the top of the juices, place the pan over medium heat on the stove top and bring to a simmer
  • Cook until the sauce has reduced by more than half and resembles the consistency of a thick gravy (about 15-20 minutes)
  • Slice the brisket against the grain and serve with the vegetables
  • Season the sauce with salt and pepper to taste and spoon over the brisket
  • Serve the remaining sauce on the side

Related: New Year’s Eve Party DIY Guide

DessertNutella has been a european staple for years. Since it’s migration to the US in recent years, nutella has been popping up in pastries all over america. We took this Hanukkah doughnut and combined it with the newest dessert trend to achieve one of the tastiest home-made doughnuts you will ever try. If you’re pressed for time you can always go for the modernized donut version, the doughnut hole. Instead of making rounds with a cookie cutter simply roll the dough into a few small spheres, fry, coat with confectioners sugar, and drizzle with warm nutella. To garnish, add strawberries around the platter and serve!

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Photo Credit: Merissa Principe

Nutella Sufganiyot
Prep Time: 15 min
Inactive Time: 1 hour 55 min
Cook Time: 20 min
Total Time: 2 hours 30 min
Makes 10-15
Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup nutella
  • confectioners sugar

Directions

  • In a small bowl, stir together the yeast, warm water and 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes until the mixture reaches a foamy consistency
  • If the mixture does not achieve this texture, start over again with fresh yeast
  • In a large bowl add the flour and create a concave “well” in the middle of the flour
  • In this “well,” add the eggs, yeast mixture, remaining sugar, salt and butter
  • Mix well using your hands to bring together all of the ingredients
  • Once the mixture comes together, the dough is ready for kneading
  • Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes until smooth and soft
  • In a lightly oiled bowl, place the dough and cover with a kitchen towel
  • Set the bowl in a warm, dry place, away from sunlight, to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size
  • Place the dough onto a well floured surfaced roll it out until it’s about 1/4 inch think
  • Using a circular cookie cuter about 2 1/2 inches in diameter cut the dough into rounds
  • Place the rounds in a row and cover with plastic wrap
  • Allow the rounds to rise for 15 minutes
  • Fill a heavy bottomed pot with vegetable oil and heat until the oil reaches a desired 370 degrees
  • Add a couple of rounds to the hot oil and fry for about 2 minutes, turning at the halfway point, until golden brown
  • Using a slotted spoon, remove the rounds from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel lined plate
  • After they’ve cooled for a minute or two, roll the rounds in the confectioners sugar to coat
  • Once they’re completely cooled, poke a whole in the center of the doughnut and fill with the Nutella using a pastry bag or a zip-lock plastic bag
  • Snip the corner off, making a small hole, and pipe about 2 teaspoons of Nutella into the center of each doughnut
Merissa Principe is a teacher and a freelance travel blogger from NYC. Teaching early childhood education has provided Merissa an opportunity to travel all over the world and live in new places. Be sure to follow her at Citygirlriss.wordpress.com for all things travel, beauty, fashion and New York City.
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