Happy New Year: Our Sweet Rosh Hashana Menu

By: Mallory Stuchin
Labor Day Picnic


Sundown on Wednesday marks the eve of 5775 in the Jewish calendar and the beginning of the Rosh Hashana holiday. While most celebrations lack much of December’s New Year's Eve flair (no Champagne, and there are yarmulkes instead of party hats), the holidays do share one common tradition: Everyone gathers for a huge meal. If you’re looking to amp up your holiday dinner — or you simply want to enjoy a fall-centric menu — give these classic dishes a spin. You might like them enough to incorporate them into your next New Year’s party. After all, who needs caviar when you have kugel? L’shana tova (aka happy New Year!).

The Soups
Matzo Ball Soup


Though it’s a Passover standard,  Matzo Ball Soup (above) makes appearances at nearly every Jewish holiday. Why? Because it’s good for you and delicious, and Bubby said you should eat it. Those seeking something sweet can opt for Michael Chiarello’s  Roasted Butternut Squash Soup served with toasted pepitas (keep it kosher by omitting the mascarpone).

The Grains
Noddle Kugel


Noodles, barley and potatoes were a staple of early Eastern European diets because they were cheap and could easily stretch a meal. Many of the dishes, like this rich and cheesy  Noodle Kugel (above), could also be made well in advance (good news for those cooking the entire holiday feast).

If you prefer your grains to have a bit more bite, make  Kasha and Varnishkes, which combines buckwheat kasha with bow tie noodles in a savory beef stock. Vegetarians can enjoy similar flavors in this  Egg “Barley” (it swaps in orzo pasta for barley, resulting in a lighter flavor profile and less dense texture).

The Main Courses
Labor Day Picnic

Brisket with Parsnips with Leeks and Green Onions

Alexandra Guarnaschelli's Brisket with Parsnips with Leeks and Green Onions

©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Alex Guarnaschelli’s  Brisket with Parsnips and Leeks (above) is melt-in-your-mouth tender and impossible not to love. Make sure to save any extra sauce to make leftover brisket sandwiches the next day.

Feel like spoiling your loved ones? Splurge and make  Braised Lamb Shanks with Vegetables and Buckwheat Bread. If you’re not up for baking your own loaf (no judgment), serve this dish with store-bought challah or another rustic bread.

And what’s wrong with slow-roasting a chicken that’s rich with garlic and wonderfully fall-off-the-bone tender? Absolutely nothing. Wow your guests with Aida Mollenkamp’s  super-simple recipe (pictured at top of post).

The Sides
Sweet Potato Tsimis

Eating honey is an essential part of every Rosh Hashana meal, as it’s meant to represent sweet hopefulness for the new year. Tsimis, a honey-glazed vegetable dish that’s often made with carrots, gets reinvented with sweet potatoes and a marshmallow topping in  this creative recipe (above). Of course, if you’d rather stick with tradition, try Tyler Florence’s  Candied Carrots, which are equal parts sweet and spiced (and very nice). Shop for thin, young baby carrots and keep their tops intact for a beautiful presentation.

Something Sweet
Challah Bread Pudding


Old Jewish lore explains that every stomach has two sides, so after you’re full from dinner, you’ll still have room for dessert. And that dessert should be Dave Lieberman’s  Challah Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Raisins. The dish sets up into a gooey, spoonable custard (meaning it’s perfect). Non-chocolate lovers — while some of your decisions may already be questionable — can try Michael Symon’s  Apple Bread Pudding instead. Made with the season’s best fruit, it’s both tart and sweet — a lovely addition to any fall table.

Wash everything down with some  Manischewitz or a glass of  mulled cider, and toast l’chaim: to the new year.

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