Modern Passover Recipes for Success


Passover recipes from one who wrote the "Idiot's Guide" cookbooks.

If Ronnie Fein can teach idiots how to cook classic American cuisine, certainly she can teach the rest of us how to prepare inventive, delicious kosher-for-Passover meals.

That’s not just hyperbole: Fein, a Connecticut-based cookbook author, instructor and food journalist, made her bones by writing two cookbooks for the Complete Idiot’s Guide series, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cooking Basics and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to American Cooking.

Her latest effort, the recently released The Modern Kosher Kitchen, features more than 125 recipes designed to bring ease to the kitchen and joy to the table.

Fein herself graciously agreed to select a number of recipes to create a kosher meal during the holiday.

All recipes are from and courtesy of The Modern Kosher Kitchen, published by Fair Winds Press.



When I don’t feel like fussing with a main course, sometimes soup is supper. This chowder is filling enough for that.


Yield: Makes 4 servings

    2    tablespoons olive oil

    1    medium onion, chopped

    1    red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

    1    small chile pepper, deseeded and minced

    1    large garlic clove, finely chopped

    3    tablespoons tomato paste

    1    28-ounce can tomatoes, coarsely chopped, including juices

    4    cups vegetable or fish stock

    1    cup white wine

    2    tablespoons chopped fresh basil

    2    tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

    3    medium carrots, diced (about ¼-inch)

    1    medium zucchini, diced (about ¼-inch)

1½    pounds halibut, cut into chunks

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and chile pepper and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until softened slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomatoes, stock, white wine, basil and parsley. Bring to a simmer, cover the pan partially, and cook for 20 minutes.

Add the carrots and zucchini, cover the pan partially, and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the halibut. Season with salt and pepper to taste, cover the pan, and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through.



Haroset is one of the symbolic foods on the seder plate, but in our family, we eat it as a relish with the meal. I’ve made dozens of versions over the years. This one is spicy, and my kids didn’t like it at first. Now I double the recipe because it’s everyone’s favorite; we couldn’t think of having a seder without it. Make this a day before serving to allow the flavors to blend and mellow. It may be made up to three days ahead. Store in the refrigerator, but remove from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before serving. Serve at room temperature.


Yield: Makes 6 cups

    1    cup chopped dried apricots

   ½    cup chopped dates

   ½    cup golden raisins

    2    tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped

    1    cup shelled pistachio nuts

    1    cup chopped almonds

   2⁄3    cup sweet red Passover wine

   1⁄4    cup apple cider vinegar

    2    teaspoons grated fresh orange peel

    2    teaspoons chopped fresh ginger

   ¾    teaspoon ground cinnamon

   ½    teaspoon cayenne pepper

   ½    cup orange marmalade

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix together and let rest on the countertop at least 4 hours before serving. Mix the ingredients occasionally during that time.

Serving suggestions and variations: The peppery heat gives this haroset real vitality, but if you don’t like spicy food, you can leave out the cayenne pepper.



The chocolate adds a beautiful, rich, dark sheen to the gravy.


Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

    2    tablespoons olive oil

    1    shoulder of lamb roast, 31⁄2 to 4 pounds

    2    medium onions, chopped

    3    carrots, chopped

11⁄4    cups white wine

11⁄4    cups chicken stock

    1    cup tomato sauce

   1⁄4    cup chopped fresh parsley

    1    teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

    1    bay leaf

   ¼    teaspoon ground cinnamon

    2    strips of orange peel, each about

    2    inches long

    1    ounce unsweetened chocolate

         Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Heat the olive oil in a deep heat-proof casserole. Add the roast and cook over medium heat, turning it occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove the meat and set aside. Add the onions and carrots to the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until they have softened. Pour in the wine, stock and tomato sauce and mix the ingredients together. Add the parsley, thyme, bay leaf, cinnamon, orange peel, chocolate, salt, and pepper. Stir the ingredients until the chocolate has melted. Return the roast to the pan. Cover the pan. Bake for about 21⁄2 to 3 hours, turning the meat occasionally, or until the meat is tender. Discard the bay leaf and orange peel. Remove the meat and let it rest for several minutes before carving. Skim the fat from the top of the pan juices.

Serve the pan juices and vegetables with the meat. Alternatively, you can boil the pan juices (with the vegetables) for a few minutes, if desired, for a thicker gravy.

Serving suggestions and variations: You can also make this dish using 4 meaty lamb shanks or leg of lamb instead of shoulder.

Did you know? It was an ancient custom to sacrifice a lamb before Passover and then eat it to begin the festival. That custom ended with the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E. Since that time, out of respect, we don’t eat roasted lamb during Passover. Some people will not eat roasted meat of any kind. But lamb itself is not forbidden if it is braised with liquid as in this recipe.



This is a beautiful way to serve fresh fruit, and it is particularly refreshing after a big or heavy meal. Consider this dessert at Passover! Serve one or two halves to each person.


Yield: Makes 6 to 12 servings

    6    navel oranges

  12    strawberries, halved or quartered

  24    seedless red grapes, halved

   ½    cup plus 6 tablespoons sugar, divided

   ¼    cup orange-flavored liqueur, brandy, or orange juice

    3    large egg whites

Cut the oranges in half. Carve out the flesh and cut into bite-size pieces. Place the flesh in a bowl and add the strawberries, grapes, 6 tablespoons sugar and liqueur. Toss the fruit and let macerate for at least 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 425°. Cut a tiny slice from the bottom of each orange half so that they will sit upright on a plate. Spoon the fruit and accumulated juices back into the reserved orange halves. Set aside. Beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually add the remaining 1⁄2 cup sugar, beating constantly until the whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks. Spread the meringue over the top of the orange halves, mounding it in the center and making sure to seal the edges to the fruit. Place the filled oranges on a cookie sheet. Bake for about 6 minutes or until the meringue is lightly browned. Let cool slightly and serve.

Serving suggestions and variations: You can add or substitute any fresh, colorful fruit such as kiwi, blueberries or raspberries.

Tip: Cut and carve the oranges ahead by a day and refrigerate; use all the juices that may accumulate in addition to the liqueur.


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