Great New Dish I concocted for my Seder
I bought a whole prime rib the first time because the kosher butcher in San Jose I ordered it promised me a would be cheaper price per pound for me if he did not have to cut it up. So I told him OK, not knowing what a whole prime rib looked like, weighed, how much it would cost, or ever having cooked one before. I had eaten prime rib in restaurants, though, and liked it. The butcher referred me to had several excellent cookbooks which I had at home, and promised I could call him up if I got into trouble. And my mother was with me at the time, and liked the butcher, and wanted to support his business. So fine, I said to the butcher, order me a whole prime rib, whatever.
When I got the call that my order was ready and I came to pick it up, and I saw that a whole prime rib was a hunk of meat trussed up in string netting, that was almost a foot wide, and almost a yard long, cost $18 a pound AFTER the discount, and weighing in at 18 pounds, cost over 300 bucks.
This afterthought to my Seder, which I had only gotten to make G happy and give him an alternative to turkey (and to be fair, because I hate brisket), spoke up for itself and said “I am not a piece of fruit! ATTENTION MUST BE PAID!” So I NAMED the thing, called it The Beast, and duly added it to my Passover shopping list along with wine, matzas, potatoes, and dozens of eggs.
Traditional Passover is not a holiday for the heart healthy. If our forefathers in Europe had been able to afford adequate quantities of the traditional foods like brisket and potato kugel for dinner and matza brei and sour cream for lunch, they would have dropped dead in the Old Country of heart disease long before they emigrated to America. But that is another story.
We all loved The Beast, our own Passover sacrifice. I laced it with garlic just like Julia Child showed me on TV. I rubbed it with salt and spices. I lay it on a bed of peeled and quartered potatoes, which absorbed the garlicky and spicy drippings form the meat and became delicacies in their own right, The Beast was fragrant and fatty and beefy and crisp, just what our ancient hunter-gatherer metabolisms crave.
The mushrooms are a very different type of trouble to make than The Beast, which drove my entire Passover preparations (step 1 to making Pesach was: Empty freezer completely to make room for Beast) and lasted right through the 8 days, but they were a big hit.
Mushroom Ragout with wine, almonds and dried plums
- 10 extra large Portobello mushrooms, sliced diagonally into slices 1/2 inch thick
- Salt and black pepper
- Safflower oil and PAM, for frying.
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
- 1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and smashed
- 1 cups Concord grape wine (like Manishewitz)
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 cups pitted prunes
- 1 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted
- 4 ounces shiitake, crimini or other mushrooms, diced
- 1/2 cup (loosely packed) chopped parsley
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 1 clove
- 1 star anise
- Zest of 1 orange, in strips
- 1 can condensed chicken stock, and water to cover.
It sounds delicious, I'd have it WITH my beef 🙂