Chef Ruthie Rousso’s Recipes

Keftikes de Prasa

Or leek patties in English. They were on my grandma’s table every Shabbat dinner and every Passover. Actually, they didn’t really make it to the table, and we would usually have them steaming hot, wrapped in a paper towel in the kitchen. They are irresistible.

Make plenty. You won’t be sorry. The meat in the recipe can be omitted. It serves as seasoning only.

In Passover the breadcrumbs are replaced by matzoh meal. If you’d like the recipe to be gluten free, you can use GF breadcrumbs/ matzoh meal or instant oatmeal. Just make sure you serve it with lemon wedges. It’s the best.

Ingredients:

3 leeks – white and light green parts only

¼ lb ground beef

1 egg

¼ cup matzoh meal

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

Oil for cooking the leeks and for frying

Method:

  1. Trim and wash the leeks well, make sure you get running water in all the layers, as they intend to hold secret stubborn sand in them, and that’s not a required addition to your patties.
  2. Slice the leeks finely.
  3. In a pan over medium heat cook the leeks with a little bit of oil until they soften (about 15 minutes). Make you to stir from time to time.
  4. Transfer the cooked leek to a bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Heat a pan with a thin layer of oil. Spoon the leek mixture, or if it is dense and dry enough for the patties with your hands. Both are good.
  6. Cook the patties well on both sides. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towel to absorb some oil.
  7. Serve with lemon.

+

Chicken Sofrito with Artichokes and Jerusalem Artichokes

A thousand ways to make sofrito, almost as many as the cooks who make it. Sofrito is a Spanish dish, common in Sephardic kitchen, based on a well-browned protein (meat or chicken) and some fried veggies, cooked together with liquids on low hit for as long as you can, until a thick, brown, rich sauce coats the ingredients. It is so delicious and comforting I feel it is the essence of our home-cooking fantasies.

I, too, make it a bit different every time, but this festive version is for Passover only. I’ll tell you why when I see you, but it’s partly due to the fact that this is the end of artichoke season in Israel. A very short season in which you can enjoy those big, chubby flowers.

If you don’t feel like messing your kitchen with cleaning artichokes, feel free to use frozen ones (hearts only). This is what I do most of the time anyway.

A quick note about Jerusalem artichoke – they are widely available almost year round in Israel. I love their flavor, but they can be a bit tough on your stomach. That’s why I use them as seasoning only. If you don’t have major social plans for the following day, add more (:

Ingredients for 8 servings:

4 chicken thighs

Oil

3 small onions, peeled and coarsely chopped

4 clean artichoke hearts (fresh or frozen)

250 grams of peeled and sliced Jerusalem artichoke

6 garlic cloves peeled

1 lemon, squeezed

1 tablespoon sugar

4 sprigs of thyme

Salt

water

Method:

1. Fry the chicken in a large saucepan or casserole, with a thin layer of oil, skin side down until they are really brown. This is the most important part of sofrito because the color of the chicken is the basis of the sauce. If in doubt – brown more. Take out and set aside.

2. Place the coarsely chopped onions in the same pan, cut side down, and let them brown too.

3. Once the onions are ready use some water or white wine to scrape the bits the stick to the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the chicken back, this time skin side up, in one neat layer. Spread around the fried onions. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and add them and the Jerusalem artichokes. Add the garlic.

5. Add water almost to cover, one tablespoon of salt, a tablespoon of sugar, juice of one lemon and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, lower the flame and cook together for an hour and a half, or more if possible. Check from time to time and add liquids if necessary.

6. Possible: Take out the chicken and reduce the liquids.

7. Before serving, sprinkle with more fresh sprigs of thyme.