If you'll be hosting family and friends for the upcoming High Holidays, now is the time to start planning your menus and selecting your wines. In 2011, Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown Sept. 28; Yom Kippur, the day of atonement marked by fasting, begins at sunset Oct. 7.
Chef Peter Hoffman, owner of Back Forty restaurant in New York, has shared a recipe for a vibrant yet hearty main-course soup that would be at home on the Rosh Hashanah table or to break the fast after Yom Kippur with a satisfying meal. Braised beef short ribs contribute deep beefy flavor to the broth, and peeled beets give it a lovely red hue and a soft, sweet and earthy vegetal note that's augmented with green beans and carrots. Hoffman suggests serving challah bread and a crisp raw salad of Napa cabbage, scallions and herbs, dressed in a mild vinaigrette, alongside the soup.
To drink, choose a light- to medium-bodied red, ideally one with an element of smoke, to echo the chipotle pepper's contribution to the broth. Below you'll find a list of recently rated kosher wines, to help in your holiday planning.
• 3 pounds short ribs (you may substitute the same amount of second-cut brisket, known as the deckle, cut into 4- to 6-ounce chunks)
• Kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
• 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
• 1 tablespoon coriander seed
• 1 tablespoon anise seed
• 1/4 chipotle pepper, dried or canned
• 6 beets, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
• 1 pound string beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
• 4 carrots, peeled and cut into thick rounds
• 1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
• 1 bunch scallions, finely cut
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
• Red wine vinegar to taste
1. Salt the meat (ideally overnight or at least for a few hours). Note: If you have purchased meat from a kosher butcher, it will not be necessary to salt the meat ahead of time; simply season with salt just before cooking.
2. Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over high heat until it shimmers. Carefully add the ribs to the pan and cook on all sides until browned. Remove the ribs from the pot, reserving on a large plate, and add the onions and garlic to the pot. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until onions and garlic are browned, about 10 minutes.
3. While the onions and garlic cook, create a small sachet out of cheesecloth (or use a refillable tea bag or metal tea ball) and fill it with the peppercorns, coriander and anise seeds and the chipotle pepper. Once the onions and garlic are nicely browned, return the meat and its juices back to the pot with the sachet, cover with water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes.
3. Add the beets (and water to cover them if necessary) and cook for 30 minutes more. Add the beans, carrots and more water to generously cover all the vegetables. Simmer for 30 minutes more, or until the vegetables are cooked. Add some of the dill, reserving the rest for garnishing. Separate the meat from the bones (discarding the latter) and return it to the pot. (If the meat doesn't pull away easily, cut it into chunks and put them back into the soup to cook longer.) Season with salt and pepper and a splash or two of vinegar. Garnish with dill and scallions at the table. Serves 4 to 6.
A red wine with a smoky note will echo the flavors that the chipotle pepper contributes to the broth; earthy, herbal or fruit flavors in a wine will bring out other elements of the dish.
RECOMMENDED KOSHER WINES
Note: The following list is a selection of very good wines from recently rated releases. More kosher wines can be found in our Wine Ratings Search; enter the word "kosher" and search by "Wines, wineries, regions and tasting notes."
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