Bubby’s P’tcha (Meat Jelly)

My Bubby alwats made p’tcha (galarita) and kept it in an enamel pan in the basement fridge. I was the only grandchild who enjoyed it, but she used to make it when she knew my Uncle was coming to visit. He LOVED her meat jelly and she loved him. He was the only boy of three girls.

Her recipe was from years of trying different tastes, but she brought it with her from Galicia

Basically you either love this or you hate it. The way of enjoying it (for me) is with a thick piece of toasted challah.

1 package p’tcha bones (cut up cows knees basically. Ask your butcher)

1 package stew meat

1 medium cooking onion

1 large carrot

1 large celery

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp salt

Ground pepper

1-2 dried bay leaves

1 tsp garlic powder

Boil the cows feet for about 5 minutes and thoroughly rinse the bones and discard the foamy guck that comes to the surface. Place back in pan with stew meat, other vegetables and spices. Add water to JUST cover bones. (Use a medium saucepan that the bones will cover the bottom completely and not be on top of one another with no room in between). Bring to boil and then turn down to simmer for 4-6 hours.

Take out bones and pull off all meat and cartilage from them then throw away the bones. Dice stew meat and cut up cartilage and meat into fine pieces. Put into Pyrex pan (metal does something weird with this so it has to be Pyrex). Drain broth into pan and refrigerate over night. I cut up the carrot and put it in and discard everything else but if you want plain jelly you don’t have to keep the carrot. Scrape off layer of fat and discard.

Jewish Shabbos Cholent

If you are lucky enough to live in a high rise when you first get married, as you walk up the stairs after going to shul (synagogue) you will invariably smell cholent on each floor. The thing I noted was no two cholents smelled the same. One smelled sweet, one smelled spicy, one smelled of beans, one of barley. As Jews we all shared in the afternoon meal yet no two cholents were ever alike. It seems it’s a lot like us as a people. We all share the same experience yet each of us brings something different to our “table”.

The above picture was taken of my cholent before Shabbos (because on Shabbos I refrain from all work including turning on my phone). The end product is a warm brown colour with soft beans and perfect flavour.

Ingredients:

Package of beef marrow bones

Two strips flanken (fattier the better)

2/3 cup pearl Barley washed and checked

1/2 cup Cholent beans washed and checked (use kidney, pinto and navy beans if you can’t find the mix)

Two large potatoes cut in quarters

One medium whole onion

Half of a sweet potato layered in slices

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp pepper

Salt to taste (kosher meat is pretty salty)

Directions:

Add some canola oil to the bottom of your slow cooker recipe sauce pan. Add marrow bones and flanken. Add spices and ketchup directly to meat. Top with beans/barley and finish with potatoes and slices of sweet potato. Fill pot until water JUST covers everything.

If using a slow cooker, turn on high for three hours and reduce heat until Shabbos lunch. For stove top method, bring to boil and then simmer until Erev Shabbos. Before Shabbos place a “blech” (metal separation) between the heat source and pot and leave on the blech on a very low burner until Shabbos lunch. For my oven, the burner is set to 2 ( where 1 on my burner is the lowest) for the blech to have a slow heat.

You can alter the ingredients depending upon the amount of guests you have. More guests, add more potatoes or more barley. It doesn’t have to be expensive. People come for your company, not your meat. Before Shabbos if you find your water has gone down, add more and give it a stir. The water should be sitting at the top of the mixture before Shabbos so it doesn’t dry out.

Note: this is NOT for Pesach (Passover)

Bubby’s Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Chicken soup was a staple in our house. My grandmother could make a batch in no time and the smell was amazing. It was one of those things I took for granted until one day my mother was sick and couldn’t make the soup and it was left to me. I was terrified it wouldn’t turn out, but honestly it’s such an easy thing to make. After you get through all the cleaning and chopping, it just looks after itself until dinner time. I guess what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to try new things. You don’t have to use chemicals to get that old fashioned taste in your food when there are so many healthy ingredients out there.

2 carrots, peeled and washed

1 celery

1 parsnip

1 cooking onion

2 inches piece of sweet potato (can be omitted but we like this for flavour)

1 small potato

1 large RAW chicken breast

Package of chicken bones

1 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

12 cups water

Peel and wash all vegetables well and cut tips off. ( for people who want vegetables served with their soup, dice vegetables into small pieces. I leave mine whole and serve the broth) Place info large soup pot. Wash chicken breast and bones under water. Wrap chicken bones in cheese cloth, tie the end securely and place chicken into pot. Add spices, salt and pepper. Add water. Turn pot into high and bring to boil. Let boil for 15 minutes and turn to simmer. Leave pot partially covered and let simmer for 6-8 hours. It’s not a fast process if you want the good taste. When done, remove cheese cloth. Serve chicken soup broth with some parsley for garnish.

(The above soup is pictured with “kreplach” which is a meat filled dumpling)

Easy Baked Ziti

I’ve been sick lately and craving soft, yummy, easy to prepare recipes. This one really works for me. Being Jewish, I skip all the stress of the “holiday season” but I’m sure you could add this to any meal as a side in your hectic time. It’s a great kids meal and if you need something quick to serve a crowd it works perfectly.

Ingredients:

Half bag of ziti (penne) noodles prepared as directed on bag

1/2 container of cottage cheese (about 1 cup)

1/4 cup sour cream (use plain yogurt if you want to cut down on calories)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 small can tomato sauce (1 & 1/4 cups)

1/2 tsp garlic

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheated oven at 350F

Prepare and drain ziti noodles as directed on package. Mix cheese, tomato sauce and spices in 9×11 inch pan holding 1/2 shredded cheese for topping. Add ziti noodles and mix thoroughly. Press the noodles down with spoon so everything is flat in pan. Top off with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese. Bake in oven at 350F for twenty minutes or until cheese on top is bubbly and slightly brown. Serves 6-8. Double it if you want for more people

This recipe is so good even the second day. Easily warmed in microwave and great to freeze.

Kosher Habitant Pea Soup

The Canadian in me still appreciates good Canadian dishes and one of those is the thick Habitant Split Pea Soup from Quebec. I have not found any kosher canned version available. The key to the flavour is finding a good smoked kosher meat and dry yellow split peas. It’s such an affordable meal. Great for a cool rainy fall day or anytime. If you have a large gang, double the recipe. It duplicates so well.

Canola oil for sautéing

1 medium carrot diced

1 celery diced

1 medium onion diced

3 turkey franks diced

2 cups dry yellow split peas

2 tsp chicken soup mix

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 bay leaf

6-8 cups water

Sauté all ingredients until onions look translucent. Add water and bring soup to boil for 10 minutes. Turn down to medium low and let simmer for 4-5 hours. You can use a hand blender to mix this but I used a potato masher to keep the meat pieces in tact. (You can add more water if soup is too thick)

Slow Cooker Stuffed Veggies

It’s almost November so time to pull out the slow cooker and get the healthy comfort food started! This one was definitely a hit in my house. The smell of peppers, tomatoes and potatoes just filled the house. The blend of flavours and textures was amazing. I can’t begin to tell you how good this was! Try it out. So easy to prepare too.

2 baking potatoes diced in inch pieces

1 tbsp canola oil

4 medium vegetables, cored (un ripe tomatoes, peppers, even can use zucchini if cut the right height)

1 & 1/2 cup rice

1 tsp garlic powder

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

1 pound ground meat (can use chicken or beef)

1 jar Gefen Pasta marinara sauce

1 equal jar of water

Pour canola oil in bottom of slow cooker. Add diced potatoes to cover the bottom. In a separate bowl add rice and combine ground meat with spices. Combine. Line cored veggies over potatoes. Fill with rice/meat mixture. Cover stuffed veggies with marinara sauce followed by a jar of water. Cover and turn slow cooker to high. Cook 5-6 hours or until meat is done.

I served mine in bowls with potatoes on the side.

Roasted Bone Marrow Sheet Pan Dinner

During Passover time, it’s super hard to make meat and potatoes look fancy. I forgot to post this bone marrow sheet pan meal I made using very basic ingredients. It takes no time to make and is delish! It presents well too 🥂

Package of beef marrow bones (look for ones that have lots of marrow)

1 whole garlic, peeled and cap off

1 medium onion cut into inch pieces

1 large sweet potato cut into inch pieces

2 baking potatoes cut into inch pieces

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 salt

Blend spices and canola oil well in a large bowl. Reserve some oil/spice mixture for garlic and bone marrow prices. Place all veggies (except whole garlic) into boil and combine until the veggies are well covered. Remove veggies from bowl and lay onto baking tray covered in parchment paper. Pour 1 tablespoons of oil and spice mixture into garlic top and onto each piece of bone marrow. Lay everything on a baking tray and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 375F (if you want a softer garlic then feel free to wrap it in foil before laying it onto the pan. Carefully open it after roasting due to steam)

This goes great with French bread. Scoop out the roasted garlic and marrow and shmear it over. The veggies plated on the side.