Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Dinner with Rosi Golan

All images © Valery Rizzo ( Lead Balloon cover courtesy The Family Records)

Last week I had the pleasure of joining Israeli-born singer and songwriter Rosi Golan at her home as she cooked a Moroccan style dinner for a party of nine friends in celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. At the very same time, her new album Lead Balloon was being released, so there was a lot of excitement in the air surrounding us. Rosi’s last album, The Drifter & The Gypsy was prominently featured on numerous television shows (including One Tree Hill and Private Practice) and in film (Dear John). For upcoming shows and to check out her new album click here and there is a great video of the making of Lead Balloon here.

When not touring, Rosi lives in Brooklyn with her sweet cat Ninus and is known for her dinner parties that have her friends clamoring for invites. Born to a Moroccan mother and Romanian father, she grew up in a family where the kitchen was filled with people cooking together. Rosi chose to make Moroccan inspired dishes as a way of being with her grandmother again. Matbucha (Mott-Boo-Chah), one of her many dishes, is a traditional Moroccan recipe and is also very popular in Israel. It is a slow-cooked roasted pepper and tomato salsa or dip, which Rosi slow cooks down to a paste and is her mother's recipe. You can also enjoy it with scrambled eggs, sort of like a shaksauka or the incredible way Rosi served it for dinner, spread on a piece of challah bread along side some hummus and roasted peppers. Rosi is also big on Gluten-free and so for dessert she made a flourless chocolate cake, using bittersweet chocolate, from a recipe she found on Epicurious. It was two days of fun, cooking, friends stopping by, sharing stories, and listening to great music on vinyl from two of her vintage turn tables, both of which she found at the Brooklyn flea.

Rosh Hashanah dinner is traditionally on the sweet side, meant to bring in the new year in a sweet way. Rosi started her guests off with apples dipped in honey and pomegranate seeds. The apples and honey, again as way to symbolically express wishes for a sweet new year and the pomegranate seeds for a fruitful new year. Next you break a piece of the challah bread and enjoy it with the matbucha, some spicy Moroccan carrot salad, hummus and a roasted red pepper and tomato salad. For the main dish Rosi served up an apricot and fig lamb stew paired with basmati rice. The flavors of this dish were absolutely to die for! The lamb was tender and each bite together with the sweet flavor from a piece of fig or apricot was beyond unbelievably good and then the rice would calm the palate. Rosi loves to shop at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg, which is known for its local and sustainably raised meat from small NY State farms. From her butcher Sara she bought two different cuts of lamb for the stew along with a few bones for extra flavor. Then to add to Rosi’s dinner, Cara her publicist and friend, contributed a sweet and sour brisket as well as a kugel that she had made, before ending the dinner with Rosi’s flourless chocolate cake with raspberries and fresh whipped cream. I was happily stuffed!

You can make this recipe 1 to 2 nights beforehand. It's one of those recipes that tastes better the next day. It's all about slow cooking and stewing. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before serving or until room temperature.

12 oz can of chopped tomatoes
7 cloves garlic
Extra-virgin Olive oil
1 medium roasted red pepper
A pinch of Brown sugar
Red pepper flakes (optional)

Add a light pool of olive oil to the bottom of the medium pot. Add 7 cloves of garlic thinly sliced. Sauté garlic over medium heat, for about 1 minute.

Add one can of chopped tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to taste. Lower the heat to low and let cook down for about 1 to 1 ½  hours or until all the liquid has evaporated.

About halfway through chop up one medium roasted pepper and add to the pot. Add a pinch of brown sugar and optionally some red pepper flakes to add some fire, if you like that. If the Matbucha is cooking to quickly and is too thick you may want to add a ½ cup of water and let that cook down again until all the water has evaporated or until it reaches your desired thickness.

2 lbs carrots
3 lemons
3 teaspoons finely chopped parsley
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves garlic
1teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Peel all your carrots. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Cook carrots whole for 15 min. or until al dente or semi-cooked. You don't want them to be mushy. You should be able to pick them up with a fork but they should still be firm.

While carrots are cooking prepare marinade. In a medium bowl add the juice from 3 lemons, 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 3 cloves garlic minced (you may use a microplane, Rosi’s favorite kitchen utensil), 1 teaspoon cumin and ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper. Mix well then add a bit of salt and pepper to taste and 3 teaspoons finely chopped parsley.

When carrots are cooked blanche in cold water to stop cooking. Slice all carrots  into ¼ inch pieces and place into a medium sized baking dish. Pour marinade over carrots and mix well, covering carrots thoroughly. Cover and place into refrigerator over night. You can make this dish up to 2 days ahead of time.

8 red, orange and yellow peppers, or what ever fills your pan
2 small to medium golden yellow tomatoes
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375°. Place your peppers in a baking pan lined with foil. Cook for about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Using kitchen prongs, turn after 30 minutes or wait until you can smell the peppers.

Continue to check and turn your peppers until the skin is fully cooked and the peppers are fully wilted. Put all the peppers into one doubled plastic bag tie and set aside to cool.

When cool, peel off skin and remove seeds from peppers. Pull apart into strands and place into bowl with a bit of olive oil. Cover and let sit overnight in refrigerator.

Before serving chop two small to medium golden yellow tomatoes for color and add to a third of the roasted peppers, with the juice of half a lemon and a drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. You can make as much or as little for the salad and if you have peppers left over you can use them throughout the week on sandwiches and in salads.

3 lbs cubed lamb (combination of lamb shoulder and leg)
2 lamb bones/ribs or you can use lamb chops
3 medium to large onions chopped
8 oz bag semi-dried figs
8 ounces Turkish apricots
4 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon Turmeric
½ teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of saffron
3 tablespoons plus another couple pinches dark brown sugar
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Using a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat, coat bottom with olive oil. Add cubed lamb and sear for 1 minute then add chopped onions and minced garlic. Mix everything together and add turmeric, cinnamon, saffron and a bit of salt and pepper.

Add 2 ½ cups of water and bring to a simmer, then decrease heat to low. Add a couple lamb bones or chops, this will cook down and give the stew a nice flavor.
After about 1 hour add 8 ounces chopped semi dried figs, and a couple pinches of dark brown sugar to balance out the flavor.

Cover stew and cook from 2 ½ to 5 hours, or until the lamb is tender and falling apart. This all depends on how cooked you like your lamb. Rosi cooked her lamb stew for 5 hours.

Place apricots whole into a small saucepan and cover with water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Drain water and return apricots to pan then add 3 tablespoons brown sugar (or honey) and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, sauté until everything is combined, a few minutes. Serve over finished lamb stew.

Serve finished lamb stew over basmati rice.


  1. Hi Valery! It all looks "buonissimo" and I love the idea of having a menu`, so your guests know what you have prepared for them. The lamb looks delicious and I might just try to make it, with some peppers and lovely cous cous. Gabriella gave us a tagine, last Christmas, which I might finally put to good use!I love Moroccan spices and flavours, and I also love Rosi's beautiful voice! And she's pretty!

    Ciao, cara...


  2. woow it looks very delicious.