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Every year, many of us spend days preparing a festive Rosh Hashanah dinner, with hours spent behind the stove, and not enough time spent with friends and loved ones. The resulting dinners are, of course, well worth the effort, but sometimes, wouldn't you rather be out of the kitchen in about an hour?
This meal celebrates the New Year simply, yet deliciously. The dishes can be made in less than an hour, which means that even if you left your planning to the last minute, you can still do the shopping and finish the cooking before sundown.
The meal begins with a quick chicken-noodle soup that's as easy as boiling water for pasta. Except here, the water is chicken broth and the pasta is hearty egg noodles, along with cubed chicken and thinly sliced carrots. A sprinkle of fresh parsley adds a burst of color.
For the main course, sliced London broil topped with a rich mushroom gravy packs in a lot of flavor in a very short amount of cooking time -- less than 30 minutes. London broil is not a cut of beef, but rather a generic term referring to a large, flat cut of meat, usually top round.
The key to any London broil is to slice it very thinly; the inexpensive cut is flavorful but tough, and therefore, must be sliced thin so it is not too chewy. Serve the London broil with some simple roasted potatoes -- red or white -- to sop up the gravy, along with asparagus with a mustard vinaigrette.
For dessert, play with tradition with a honeyed apple cobbler that pairs the flavors of autumn with the sweetness of the New Year. Your guests will thank you!
Easy Chicken-Noodle Soup
2 quarts chicken broth
1 medium carrot, cut into thin discs
8 oz. boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
12 oz. wide egg noodles
1 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste
In a large stockpot, bring the chicken broth to a boil.
Add the carrots and chicken.
Bring back to a boil and add the egg noodles. Cook until noodles are tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add the parsley, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
London Broil With Mushroom Gravy
For the Meat:
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 London broil (2 to 21/2 lbs.)
For the Gravy:
3 Tbsps. vegetable oil (divided)
1 small onion, diced
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp. flour
1 cup chicken broth or water
1/2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
Set the oven to 500°.
Position the rack in the uppermost position.
In a small bowl, combine the oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Spread the rub on the London broil and place on a baking sheet or broil pan.
Broil the meat 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium rare.
Let the meat rest about 5 minutes before slicing.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the gravy.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
Add the mushrooms. Cook until soft and browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add remaining tablespoon oil and flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.
Add the chicken broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced and thickened, about 2 minutes.
Add the thyme, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice the meat thinly. Top with gravy.
Asparagus With Mustard Vinaigrette
2 tsps. stone-ground mustard
1 tsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsps. vegetable oil
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Combine the mustard, vinegar and oil in a large bowl.
When the water is boiling, add the asparagus and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until just cooked but still firm.
Drain asparagus and add to bowl with vinaigrette. Toss to combine.
Set aside to cool to room temperature. When cool, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Honeyed Apple Cobbler
5 lbs. assorted apples, such as Braeburn, Granny Smith, Gala, Fuji, etc., peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch slices
3 Tbsps. honey
2 Tbsps. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup, plus 3 Tbsps., flour (divided)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup oats
1 cup vegetable shortening
Set oven to 400°.
Toss the apples, honey, sugar, cinnamon and 3 tablespoons flour in a large bowl until the apple slices are evenly coated.
Transfer to a 9x13-inch baking dish and press into an even layer.
Combine the remaining cup of flour and brown sugar, oats, and shortening in a medium bowl, using your fingers to press the mixture into pea-sized pieces.
Arrange in an even layer on top of the apples. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, until golden-brown and crisp.
Garnish with nondairy whipped topping (optional).
Serves 10 to 12.
Keri Fisher is a food writer and the co-author of One Cake, One Hundred Desserts. E-mail her at: email@example.com.