By Shannon Sarna
NEW YORK (JTA) — Sukkot is such a beautiful holiday: eating outdoors, decorating the sukkah and enjoying the flavors of fall with family and friends.
Even though the holidays fall a bit early this year, I still enjoy bringing autumn flavors into my menu. These recipes are beautiful and crowd pleasers, sure to further liven up your sukkah.
Butternut Squash and Sage Challah
Yield: 2 large loaves
This challah is equally delicious slathered in butter for breakfast or dipped in a hearty bowl of soup or stew for lunch or dinner.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
5-6 fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (I prefer to use King Arthur)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup butternut squash puree (fresh or frozen)
2 egg yolks plus 1 teaspoon water
Additional fresh sage leaves for garnish
Thick sea salt
Place vegetable oil and fresh sage leaves in a small saucepan over low-medium heat. Heat through until sage becomes fragrant, around 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit 25-30 minutes. Strain sage leaves but do not discard. Finely chop leaves. In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, butternut squash and sugar. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil and chopped sage leaves. Mix thoroughly.
Add another 1 cup of flour and eggs and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer. Add an additional 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic. You can do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon, in a stand mixer with the dough attachment or, once the dough becomes pliable enough, on a floured work surface with the heels of your hands. Dough will be done when it bounces back to the touch, is smooth without clumps and is almost shiny. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise at least around 3 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Braid challah into desired shape. Allow challah to rise another 45-60 minutes, or until you can see the size has grown and challah seems light. This step is very important to ensure a light and fluffy challah.
In a small bowl beat 2 egg yolks with 1 teaspoon water. Brush egg wash liberally over challah. Sprinkle with chopped fresh sage and thick sea salt.
If making one large challah, bake around 27-28 minutes; if making 2 smaller challahs, bake 24-26 minutes.
Jeweled Veggie Orzo with Wheatberries
Yield” 6-8 servings
Add any combination of colorful fall vegetables that you like.
1 cup dry orzo pasta
1/2 cup wheatberries
1/2 medium butternut squash
2 purple carrots or 1 large beet
1/4 cup cooked peas (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup homemade or store-bought pepitas (you can also use slivered almonds or sunflower seeds)
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel butternut squash and carrots. Dice each into 1/2 inch cubes. Place butternut squash and carrots, separately, on a baking sheet, drizzle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing once, until carmelized. Note: If replacing the carrot with beet, wash the beet gently and place in tin foil. Roast in oven at 400 degrees for around 45 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool and remove skin. Once beet has cooled, dice into 1/2 inch cubes.
While vegetables are roasting, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook orzo around 11 minutes and drain. Drizzle with olive oil and place in a large bowl.
Cook wheatberries according to directions on package. (For 1/2 cup wheatberries, you will need around 1 cup of water. Bring water to a boil and then simmer covered for around 15 minutes.) In the large bowl with orzo, add cooked butternut squash, carrots (or beets), peas, wheatberries, cranberries, pepitas and another 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve room temperature or warm.
Paprika Roasted Chicken and Potatoes
Yield: 4 servings
You don’t have to cut the potatoes into slices if you don’t want, you could just cut them into quarters and toss with paprika, salt, pepper and olive oil. But for me, there is something about chicken fat dripping onto potatoes while they roast that gets me a little excited.
4-5 medium Yukon gold potatoes
4 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
2 tablespoons smoky paprika
½ tablespoon hot paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice potatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Grease the bottom of a Pyrex dish. Lay potatoes on bottom of pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Whisk together spices, lemon juice, zest and olive oil. Spread all over the chicken including underneath the skin. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes if you have time, though not necessary. Place chicken and whole garlic cloves on top of potatoes. Roast for 50-55 minutes, or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove chicken and set aside. If you want your potatoes crispier, you can place back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes or until desired doneness.
Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher, a 70 Faces Media company.
CAP: Paprika Roasted Chicken and Potatoes