Working my way out of Egypt

Well, since the Haggadah says that in each generation one needs to see themselves as if they themselves left slavery in Egypt. Today was a slavery day.

I took the easy way out and made the charoset in the food processor.  It’s a whole lot easier than 90 minutes of hand chopping( but less emotionally satisfying)  I was just too emotionally and physically worn out after my mother’s death to deal with the hand chopping this year.We now have a gallon of charoset in the fridge.
The charoset recipe was developed by my father. It sort of started out with a base of Ashkenazi charoset and is embellished with ideas my father got from reading Maimonides, references to fruits in the Song of Songs and stuff my father liked.

The quantities for everything is  lots.
figs ( it’s better to have a few varieties, and they are even better if they are pre-soaked in sweet wine)
prunes ( not a lot)
apricots ( California is better but Turkish are better than nothing)
dried peaches if you have them ( I didn’t this year)
fresh ginger – lots
whole orange
whole lemon
Sweet kosher wine
Chop everything up until it is a nice rough texture. Add wine , more than you would think and some honey. It’s better if it sits for a few days for the flavors to meld.

I also made a no nut charoset for my nephew.  That was the easy part of my day.

The hard part of the day was the soup. It had cooked for a day and a half. It was time to create not the usual peasant soup we eat all year but the refined clear soup my father was so proud to serve on Passover.
I first need to explain that the pot I’m using is big. My son and I reckoned that you could cook a year old child in the pot with no trouble. The pot SAM_4054  would be a bit too small for a two year old.  I’m saying this not because I plan to cook a child, but because I want you to get a sense of the volume of soup I am dealing with here.
First I had to mash all of the vegetable matter through a strainer.
All of the pureed gunk gets added back into the soup.
Then you take all of the vegetable matter that is left inside the strainer and put it in a tea towel and squeeze out every bit of liquid.  This means that every bit of vegetable goodness is inside a  flavorful clear broth.
This makes for really good soup but it is hard on the hands and shoulders.

I then pulled out all the bits of chicken flesh and put them into a bowl. On it’s own the chicken tasted like old rubber bands. I know, because as a kid I used to put all sorts of things in my mouth, including old rubber bands.
I then ground up celery and parsley with some fresh lemon juice and olive oil and made a dressing for the chicken scraps. I flavored it with lots of black pepper and paprika and that was supper 9 along with some soup and some paprika and ginger flavored matza balls.

We now have 11 quarts of soup ready for Seder.My hands look like they have been pickled. I am sore and bone tired.

I think tomorrow I will cook the meat and start thinking about side dishes.


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