Passover Recipes From A Baltimore Chef

March 13, 2013 6:00 AM

(Credit: AP GraphicsBank)

Passover 2013 begins the evening of March 25 and ends the evening of April 2. Passover celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The Seder banquet incorporates the reading of Haggadah, which is a recounting of the journey. The traditional foods served represent the exodus. Ritual Seder meals are served on the first two nights. Typically they include matzoh, maror, charoses, beitzah, karpas and zeroah. Baltimore has many fine kosher restaurants and skilled chefs who prepare Passover meals.

Scott Sunshine is the principal of Kosher at a Different Level and has owned and operated the Sunshine Cafe, which received three stars from the Baltimore Sun, and the Neon Moon, which was given four stars by Baltimore Magazine. He has served as chef and food & beverage director for a number of hotels. During his career, he has also provided catering services to small and large events. Featured in the Shimon Apisdorf book, Kosher for the Clueless but Curious, he has been a frequent guest on Baltimore television and radio programs. Sunshine has also worked at two presidential inaugurations and has made tea for the first lady, meals for two Israeli prime ministers and much more. This summer, his book, Cooking with the Kosher Food Dude, is to be published by Leviathan Press.

Kosher at a Different Level provides full-service consulting to restaurants, food production and hospitality industries. The services focus on various aspects of the life cycle of restaurants, producers and other hospitality operations. While the firm operates primarily in the kosher market, it also serves non-kosher businesses. In addition, the firm offers a culinary school for all skill levels. Courses are offered not only on-site but at other venues throughout the region and nationwide. The school offers a 200-hour professional course to prepare students to become a Certified Culinary Professional, (CCP), ServSafe and HACC certifications. Other courses include everything from basic culinary skills and kosher fundamentals professional restaurant management and kosher supervision.

For those who want a lighter introduction to Passover meals, Scott recommends the following recipes. “In my family, Passover is a big deal — the old country was Eastern Europe and many of the dishes reflect that heritage,” Sunshine said. “Meat was poor and therefore needed to be braised for a long time to be tender and the vegetables were hearty root types. The recipes for chicken soup and roast chicken are classic and the sautee with capers is for those wishing a lighter option.”

Scott Sunshine
Kosher at a Different Level
1800 Drexel St.
Hyattsville, Md. 20783
(443) 388-6574

(credit: AP GraphicsBank)

(credit: AP GraphicsBank)

Chicken Soup


6-9 cups of chicken stock
1 cup diced chicken (“I like dark meat, it doesn’t dry out as much.”)

1/2 cup diced grated onion
1/4 cup diced carrot
1/4 cup diced celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
fresh dill
chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish


First, cover the bottom of the pot with oil or chicken fat. Add vegetables and then saute lightly until they become translucent. Add stock and slowly bring to a simmer.
Cook until liquid is reduced by one third. Add fresh dill and bring quick boil. Add chicken and bring up to temperature. Garnish with parsley. Rice, noodles or almost anything else can be added, but then should be adjusted to taste.

passover Passover Recipes From A Baltimore Chef

Chicken Shiraz With Porcini And Whole Shallots


1 14-ounce can low-salt chicken broth
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
4 large chicken breast halves with skin and bones (about 4 pounds), each cut crosswise in half
3 chicken thighs with skin and bones
3 chicken drumsticks with skin and bones
6 whole shallots
10 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, halved
1/3 cup chopped shallots
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups Shiraz or other hearty dry red wine
Chopped fresh Italian parsley


Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a small saucepan, bring the  porcini mushrooms and broth to a boil. Remove the mixture from heat and then let it stand about 25 minutes or until the mushrooms soften. Move mushrooms to a cutting board with a slotted spoon and coarsely chop. In a medium bowl, pour in the mushroom broth, while leaving the dregs behind. Reserve the broth. At the same time, heat the oil at medium in large pot that is suitable for the oven. Add the pancetta. Cook for  about 10 minutes, stirring frequently until crisp and brown. Again, take a slotted spoon and transfer the pancetta to a paper towel. Sprinkle salt and pepper on chicken pieces. Work with batches and add chicken to pot. Cook over each side over medium to high heat for about five minutes, until lightly browned. Move the chicken to a plate.

Pour off the dripping until only three tablespoons remains; then, add whole shallots. Cook about two minutes per side, until they are a little bit brown. Add the crimini mushrooms and cook the mushrooms for about six minutes, until they begin to brown. Stir them often. Add the  chopped shallots, garlic, thyme and porcini mushrooms. Cook for about two minutes, until the shallots are soft; then, mix flour into the shallot mixture. Continue stirring for one minute. Stir in the wine, pancetta and mushroom broth. Add the chicken thighs and drumsticks. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pot and bake it for  25 minutes before adding the chicken breasts. Again, cover and bake until all chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 45 minutes longer, as needed. Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to platter and tent with foil to keep warm.

Boil sauce about five minutes, until slightly thickened. On a platter, pour sauce over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley, and serve.

burning bread ritual, passover

Root Vegetable Ragout


1/2 pound pearl onions (about 1 cup)
1 medium turnip
1 medium Yukon gold or other yellow-fleshed potato
2 medium carrots
2 medium parsnips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup veal stock (4 fluid ounces)
Garnish with chopped fresh, flat-leafed parsley leaves and blanched grated lemon zest


Prepare a bowl of  ice water. Boil water and cook onions in it for about three  minutes and then use a colander to drain them. Next, place  the onions to the ice water. Once the onions are a comfortable temperature to touch, peel and save them. Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel the leftover vegetables and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes until you have enough to fill 3/4 cup each. Toss all of the vegetables except the onions  into a roasting pan and add oil. Roast them for about 20 minutes, until they are golden and tender. Heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet until the foam dissipates. Cook the onions, stirring, until they are tender and pale gold in color. Add the stock, roasted vegetables and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer about two minutes or until stock is slightly thickened and coats vegetables.

Serve ragout garnished with parsley and zest.
Related: Best Kosher Restaurants & Supermarkets In Maryland

apple Passover Recipes From A Baltimore Chef

Baked Apples With Cranberries, Raisins And Apricots


4 large Fugi apples
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted margarine, melted
2 cups apple-cranberry juice


Preheat oven to 400°F. De-stem the apples.Remove the core of each apple to make a one-inch-wide hollow center but make sure to leave the bottom of apple intact. Make a 1/8-inch-deep cut in the skin of each apple around center. Arrange the apples, with hollowed sides up, on an 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish. In a small bowl, mix raisins, cranberries, sugar, apricots, with 1/2 teaspoon allspice. Pack the fruit mixture into the hollows of each of the apples. Sprinkle any of the remaining fruit mixture around apples. Drizzle margarine into the filling and around the apples. Pour the juice into the dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 teaspoon allspice into the dish. Bake the apples uncovered, about one hour and 10 minutes or until tender. Occasionally baste with cranberry juice mixture. Transfer the apples into four bowls. Pour juices from the dish into a medium saucepan and boil about four minutes or until thick enough to coat spoon; then, spoon sauce over apples.

Related: Best Kosher Food In Baltimore

Jeffrey B. Roth has won numerous state and national news and feature-writing awards during his career. A well-known crime writer, investigative reporter and a feature writer, Roth writes for a number of magazines and newspapers. Listed in the Locus Index of SciFi and Fantasy authors, Roth is the author of a number of published short stories and poetry. His work can be found on

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