The Passover Potluck is a unique annual online event. I’ve invited my friends, both Jewish and non-Jewish, to share recipes that are kosher for Passover. My goals are simple– to foster mutual understanding between different cultures, to introduce you to my foodie friends, and to share yummy recipes and cooking ideas for Passover! To learn more about the Passover holiday, click here. To learn about what makes a recipe kosher for Passover, click here. To check out the other Passover Potluck recipes, click here.
I met Tamar Genger from JoyofKosher.com on a trip to New York last year. Tamar runs the website with her friend and business partner Jamie Geller, a kosher cookbook author and fellow food lover. While I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Jamie yet, I’m happy to introduce her to you as part of our Passover Potluck. In this guest post, she shares her Moroccan-inspired recipe for Chicken with Prunes and Oregano. ~ Tori
It’s really hard to change your life. When I say change I mean complete, life altering, change. Tori and all converts to Judaism inspire me. To entirely immerse yourself in the culture, history and life of a religion that was once foreign to you is a place not many can claim to know or understand. Tori’s utter embrace of Jewish culture and history is evidenced by her recent visit with Holocaust survivors, one Michael Berkowits from Transylvania. When I read the post, I had tears in my eyes. As I do now while I write this post for her Passover Potluck. I am the grandchild of 4 Holocaust survivors from Transylvania. When we talk about survivors we have to understand the true meaning of the word – it does not only mean survivors of the war, the camps, the horrors, the loss — survivors did not survive one single event – but each day on this earth they survive all over again. Michael’s story spoke to me because he was from the same region as my family, he too came from an Orthodox family, he too survived Auschwitz and he too ended up a Jew living in America with a career in cooking. My grandparents as most people’s grandparents, especially ones born in the old country, were truly amazing chefs. They are what you would call naturally born cooks. I on the other hand am not. My name is Jamie Geller, and I am The Bride Who Knew Nothing.
I grew up in a conservative household in Philadelphia to immigrant parents with a strong sense of their Jewish identity. I became an award winning TV producer at HBO (and before that at CNN). To cut to the chase and give you the quick & kosher version of my tale, I slowly adapted an observant orthodox lifestyle, met my husband on a blind date set up by a matchmaker (not just a song in Fiddler on the Roof, but a real life occupation) and two weeks later we were engaged, 2 months later we were married and 7 ½ years later we had our 5th child (pooh, pooh, pooh!). So Quick & Kosher, the name of my cookbook series, is also a metaphor for my entire life. I love food, I really love it with every fiber of my being. But actually making it, not so much. So my food is simple, easy, with few ingredients, and no fancy equipment.
For the Passover Potluck, I am sharing one of my favorite Passover dishes from my 2nd book, Quick & Kosher Meals in Minutes. I wanted to give you guys something special that wasn’t already posted on my website JoyofKosher.com. When I started to become religious I used to go to community sponsored Shabbat meals in midtown Manhattan. They were catered by a Moroccan restaurant who served things like salmon in spicy tomato sauce and chicken with prunes. My taste memory archives recreated this slightly sweet dish. And the sautéed zucchini are just so simple, so divine and so perfect as a side. I love using baby zucchini because they make me look like a gourmet, even when I don’t deserve it (love you zucchini!!). If you don’t see them in your local store, buy the smallest zucchini you can find and cut them matchstick style into similar sized pieces.
My number one Passover rule, and honestly if you follow nothing else but this advice then this post was worth it: Don’t cook or eat anything on Passover that you wouldn’t eat year round. I don’t mess with synthetic Passover ingredients and make wannabe year round fare. I cook my favorite recipes that are inherently kosher for Passover and we eat like kings and queens, neither deprived, starved or feigning for the end of the holiday.
Happy Kosher Passover!
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Chicken with Prunes and Oregano
- 4 lbs skin on chicken legs with thighs attached (about 6)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or red onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1 cup pitted prunes
- 1/4 cup capers, drained
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
Baby Zucchini Ingredients
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 12 baby zucchini, halved lengthwise
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
To Make Chicken
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Season chicken legs with salt and pepper.
- Heat olive oil over high heat in a large ovenproof saute pan or Dutch oven. Brown chicken legs about 10 minutes, and transfer to a bowl.
- Add shallots and garlic to olive oil and cook for 2 minutes. Add red wine and continue cooking for 1 minute more. Add prunes, capers, bay leaf, and oregano; mix well. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Return chicken to pan and sprinkle brown sugar on top. Pour chicken broth in the bottom of the pan. Bake in preheated oven, uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until the juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork and internal temperature reaches 170 degrees F. (Note from Tori-- while I haven't made this particular recipe, I think that I would cook these a bit longer-- around 30-40 minutes-- to ensure the meat is well cooked throughout. Use a thermometer to check for doneness). Remove and discard bay leaf. Transfer chicken to a serving platter surrounded by prune mixture and Baby Zucchini Saute.
To Make Baby Zucchini Saute
- In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium heat; add shallots and cook for 1 minute.Add zucchini and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.