This year, Pat O’Malley and Scott Schroeder, chefs/owners at The Hungry Pigeon restaurant at Fourth and Fitzwater streets, will be serving up several Passover dishes — some traditional, some, like their chopped liver, with a twist.
Pat O’Malley and Scott Schroeder, chefs/owners at The Hungry Pigeon restaurant at Fourth and Fitzwater streets in the heart of Fabric Row, are looking forward to Passover.
Although neither of them are Jewish, O’Malley, the pastry chef, who returned to Philadelphia after a seven-year stint at New York’s renowned Balthazar, has a Jewish fiancée. Her family lives out of state, and last year O’Malley wanted to create a Pesach celebration for her that was both personal and delicious.
He enlisted the help of cuisine chef Schroeder, who also owns and operates American Sardine Bar and South Philadelphia Tap Room, and they got to work researching Seder menus and recipes. The meal was a success, and they plan to do it again this year.
Schroeder said, “It was really eye-opening. Our concept at Hungry Pigeon is modern, cool comfort food, and there is a lot of overlap with Jewish flavors, techniques and preparations. Responsible utilization is a huge part of what we do — roast a chicken for a dinner entree. Chop the excess meat for a salad at lunch. Use the bones to make stock. It is a smart and economical practice for a restaurant, but it also gives the best flavor — so the Jewish approach to food felt very familiar.”
The neighborhood where the HP is located is historically Jewish, so the chefs feel a further connection as a result.
This year they will be serving up several Passover dishes — some traditional, some, like their chopped liver, with a twist. Schroeder said: “When I was a kid, my friend’s Jewish grandma used to make chopped liver, and we would always get a taste right when it was finished. It was delicious. Traditionally, it is prepared ahead of time, then chilled and served later. At HP, we do the chopped liver to order, the same way I recall enjoying it as a kid. So, it’s a Jewish recipe, but with a little bit of a different take.”
The two chefs will be cooking a festive Seder this year, and were happy to share some of the recipes they will use for the celebration.
Makes 1 quart
2 medium-sized apples (whatever your favorite are — a mixture is also great)
¼ cup dark
¼ golden raisins
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup toasted walnuts (chopped)
2 Tbsps. honey
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. cinnamon
pinch of ground clove
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
3 oz. of semi-dry red wine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss all ingredients together and pour in to a single layer in a casserole dish. Bake for 15 minutes stirring halfway until some of the liquid is absorbed and everything smells toasty. Cool before serving.
Feel free to mix in any variety of other dried fruits you may like, such as dates, figs, apples and currants.
Chopped Liver with Half and Full Sour Pickles
Serves 2 to 4 as an appetizer
4 oz. fresh chicken liver, drained and dried on paper towels
1 pickled egg, chopped into large chunks
¼ spear full sour pickle, sliced
¼ spear half sour pickle sliced
1 tsp. caramelized onions, minced (see note)
1 Tbsp. thinly sliced scallions
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley chopped
¼ tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. whole-grain Dijon mustard
2 tsps. mayonnaise
½ tsp. sherry vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl except for the livers. Sear livers in a hot sauté pan flipping once. Cook them to medium well, approximately one to two minutes per side. Slice the liver while still hot in the mixing bowl and season with fresh pepper and kosher salt to taste. Serve immediately.
Note: To caramelize onions, slice them thinly. Place them in a lightly oiled skillet on medium-low heat and cook slowly until they are very soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
Potato, Oyster Mushroom and Cottage Cheese Kugel
Serves 2 to 4 as a side
½ white onion, julienned, sauteed in 1-2 oz. butter until browned, then cooled to room temperature
6 oz. oyster mushrooms, sauteed in 1-2 oz. butter until browned then cooled to room temperature
5 cranks of fresh black pepper from a peppermill
10 oz. peeled and grated Yukon Gold potato
5 oz. cottage cheese
1 tsp. salt
fresh parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Assemble all ingredients in a mixing bowl except for 1.5 ounces of the cottage cheese. Lightly butter an 8-inch baking dish or oven-proof skillet. Pour the mixture into the baking dish and press it down a little so it is flat and even. Top with the rest of the cottage cheese in little dollops. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Top it with a little chopped fresh parsley, if desired.