Continuing with the theme of bad pictures taken while entertaining family, I must share with you a wonderful Passover recipe I found a couple years ago. From what I hear, a lot of people have their favorite traditional Seder meals, but have trouble coming up with regular dinner options for the rest of the holiday. Personally I don’t have a terrible time since we don’t often eat starchy side dishes or pasta anyway, but I could see how this could be a problem for others. My problem is that I have this dish that I love to make, only, it doesn’t fit our healthy-dinners-for-two-during-the-week lifestyle. It’s totally something that I need an occasion and company in order to make. And that’s why I invited my family over for a dinner party on the Saturday evening during Passover. This way, I got out of having to plan a whole big Seder on a weeknight, I still got to do some cozy entertaining in my house and prepare a wonderful meal!
I realize I still haven’t shared the dish with you so I’ll get right to it. It’s a Moroccan Lamb and Eggplant Matzoh Pie with Spicy Tomato Sauce. If you think that’s a mouthful to say, wait till you try it. Think layers of ground lamb seasoned with ras al hanout (yes, I made a special trip to buy it finally!), smokey roasted eggplant, and tender (yes, tender because they’ve been soaked) matzoh. Top it off with some spicy sauce, take a bite, and realize it was worth all the effort (yes, it’s a bit time consuming!) I won’t bother retyping the recipe here because I really didn’t make any changes, other than tasting and adding more seasoning as I saw fit. I think it’s great the way it is.
I agonized for a while on a side dish for this wonderful main course. I pondered whether a starch was needed, when we would already have filled our bellies with a hearty soup and there are layers of starch in the pie? If I were to make a vegetable, what would compliment this Moroccan seasoned main course? In the end I decided that people like starch, and I’d go with potatoes (not a ton of choices, it being Passover and all.) And I decided to just let the salad (a tasty one provided by my mother in law) count as the vegetable. Of course, the perfect potato recipe was hard to come by, but I went with another adaptation from my Jewish Traditions cookbook. A heart vegetarian main course of Potato & Artichoke Tagine with Peas and Saffron seemed to have all the right seasonings, just a bit too much other stuff going on to serve as a side dish. And so I cut out the artichokes and Peas and came up with some Saffron Roasted Potatoes that fit the meal quite well.
Saffron (and lots of other stuff too) Roasted Potatoes
3.5lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled and diced
2-3 tbsp olive oil, to coat pan
1 medium onion, chopped
handful each of fresh parsley and cilantro, chopped
good pinch of saffron threads
1-2 tsp turmeric
freshly ground salt & pepper
juice and zest from 1 lemon
about 2-3 cups chicken broth
Preheat oven to 350F. In a dutch oven over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions and cook until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add potatoes, parsley and cilantro, saffron, turmeric, salt & pepper, lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine. Add enough chicken broth to almost cover the potatoes. Transfer to oven and roast for about 45-60 minutes, until potatoes are tender, adding more broth if it seems very dry. Garnish with additional chopped parsley.