Let's face it, sometimes Passover food can get monotonous — how many potatoes can one person eat?
So when the family tires of chicken and potatoes or roast and potatoes, why not try using whole matzah as a raw material?
There are matzah kugels and matzah roll-ups. Sephardi Jews often dampen matzah before eating it; then it can be filled with a plethora of fillings — dairy or meat — cottage cheese with chives, tuna with cucumbers and lettuce, chopped liver, etc.
Of course, the best is matzah spread with softened sweet butter.
But when you want something more substantial, give Matzah Lasagna a try: a nice change from the meat-heavy holiday meals.
Mock Shepherd's Pie is a good way to "use up" soup chicken that nobody ever seems to feel like eating.
And Matzah-Wine Chocolate Cake is an Israeli favorite for young and old.
You can substitute other cheeses if the following ones prove unavailable during Passover. You may also cut down on the amount of cheese as well, if you are concerned about cholesterol.
- 8 whole matzahs
8 oz. ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
3 Tbsps. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper
sautéed mushrooms, onions and/or peppers (optional)
1 quart tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly grease a matzah-sized pan.
Beat the ricotta with the egg, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and seasonings.
Break matzah into thirds, similar to lasagna noodles, and soak in warm water until slightly softened.
Place a layer of matzah "noodles" in the bottom of the pan to cover. Spread some of the cheese mixture over the matzah.
Add any of the optional sautéed vegetables. Spread lightly with tomato sauce.
Continue layering in same order, ending with matzah.
Spread tomato sauce over final layer of matzah and sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
Bake uncovered for about 1/2 hour, until bubbling and cheese is melted.
Mock Shepherd's Pie
- 1 large onion, diced
2 Tbsps. oil
2 cups cut-up cooked chicken (you may substitute beef or turkey)
11/2 cups diced or mashed leftover cooked vegetables (potatoes, carrots, squash, etc.)
1 cup strong chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 350°.
Sauté the onion in oil in a large pot until golden.
Add the chicken, vegetables and soup, and continue to cook for a few minutes.
Cut each matzah into quarters. Sprinkle with water and let stand for 10 minutes.
Pour the chicken mixture into a greased 10-inch pie plate. Top with the matzah quarters. Cover with beaten eggs, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes. Top with chopped parsley.
Matzah-Wine Chocolate Cake
The amount of chocolate may vary in this recipe, since it all depends on how thinly you spread the melted chocolate. In my opinion, the more you use of it, the better the overall taste. If you find you're running out of melted chocolate, just skip a layer or two of matzah. Soak them as you go along, and add shredded coconut, if you wish. And if you want to make this easy recipe even easier than it is, use that oh-so-Israeli invention: chocolate spread.
- 8 to 12 oz. pareve semisweet chocolate
1 cup sweet or semisweet red kosher-for-Passover wine
8 whole matzahs
2 Tbsps. coarsely chopped walnuts
Melt the chocolate very gradually in a microwave, stirring and checking at 15-second intervals. (Alternately, melt over very low heat, stirring constantly).
Pour wine into a large soup plate. Dunk a matzah into wine on both sides and place on serving plate.
Generously spread with melted chocolate and top with another wine-soaked matzah. Again, spread with chocolate and repeat until all the matzah is used up.
Spread the remaining chocolate over the top of matzah and along the sides.
Sprinkle with chopped walnuts just before serving.
Serves 8 to 10.
Rivka Tal is a food writer based in Jerusalem.