I have been hungry for some good old-fashioned soul food lately. Let’s be honest, I’m always hungry for good Soul Food. I could eat my weight in white beans and cornbread and a whole truck load of other Southern treats that I grew up with. Don’t get me started! I love love LOVE Southern food! The trouble is most good old-fashioned soul food isn’t so Kosher, let alone Kosher for Passover. I’ve been on a quiet mission for a while to get brave and make some of my favorite Southern treats in a Kosh way. Recently I gathered my cookbooks and courage and got to work. I made what we’ll call Jewish Chicken ‘n Dumplings AND collard greens. It doesn’t look like the doughy, sweet and salty treat that my Mamaw makes but it sure tastes good. Wanna know what else? It’s KFP! These recipes will definitely spice up your Passover eating…
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion (sliced)
1 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika (this ingredient is absolutely 100% required…f’real)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2.5 pounds collard or mustard greens (2 large bunches)
3 smashed whole garlic cloves
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sliced onion and let cook for a few minutes. Once the onion starts to cook down add the paprika, cayenne and season with salt and pepper stirring occasionally until the onion is softened (about 5 minutes). Add 1/2 cup of water to the pot; once the water is simmering, add the greens and your smashed garlic…you’ll have to pack them in. Season generously with salt and pepper and cover with a lid for about 10 minutes. Now things become a little tricky. You’ll want to add a couple of splashes of the cider vinegar to the greens. Not too much. Not too little. Be your own judge here. You can’t hurt them. Toss the greens around in the pot. Give them a taste. If they aren’t tender enough keep cooking them. If the water gets low…add a little more water. Repeat this process until they’re tender.
Next come the Chicken ‘n Dumplings. This one was a little tricky. I was looking through Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook and noticed that she has her own recipe for Chicken ‘n Dumplings. The recipe looks amazing. The only trouble is that it’s far from Kosher. No problem there. I just switched some things around and came up with my own version of her recipe. I hope you enjoy!
Chicken and Dumplings:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 table spoons margarine (KFP)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 celery stalks roughly chopped
4 carrots peeled and roughly chopped
1 small leek roughly chopped
1 medium onion sliced
1 dried bay leaf
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
1/2 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable stock
2 cups water
Preheat the oven to 400. Wash and dry your chicken. Gwyneth wanted me to use the whole chicken, which I was open to until I read the words DISCARD THE BACK AND CUT THE CHICKEN. I got nervous and nauseous. So…I went for chicken breasts. They’re cheap at Wal-Mart. Whew. ALRIGHT! So! Wash your chicken. I cut my four breasts in to small bite size pieces. That’s the way I like it. Do what you want. Season the chicken pieces with Kosher salt and pepper. Heat the margarine and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Thoroughly brown the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary) for about 7-8 minutes per side and remove to a plate leaving the fat in the pot. Add your vegetables, bay leaf and thyme and cook for 15 minutes over medium heat until tender. Return the chicken to your pot. Add the wine, bring to a boil and let cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and water, bring to a boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and cook in your 400 degree oven for 1 hour.
Meanwhile? Make your dumplings. Now, my grandmother made dumpling using milk and flour and a whole bunch of stuff that would render this recipe treif. The next best thing? Matzoh balls. Now don’t start groaning just yet. I’m not finished. If you make small, hard matzoh balls they’ll have a texture that is very similar to dumplings. When I say it’s life changing I mean it, y’all. Give it a try.
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup matzoh meal
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup onion small rough chop
In a bowl beat your eggs. Blend eggs with oil, meal, onions and water. Let set in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. If you leave the bowl uncovered you’ll achieve a thicker mixture and thus a harder ball. If you want to spice up your balls? Add a dash or 4 of Louisiana Hot Sauce and a tablespoon of black pepper. Really wanna spice it up? Throw in a tablespoon of Cajun spice. I did. I don’t regret it for a second. I made two batches of these for our chicken and dumplings.
When your oven alarm goes off after your chicken has cooked for an hour? Take your dumpling’ mix out of the fridge. Grab a spoon and scoop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into your chicken mixture. Cover the pot and put it back into the oven for about 10 minutes. You’re ready for dinner. There are a lot of steps here. Sure. BUT! I promise that you’ll enjoy this dish and it’s really not as hard as it sounds.