Joan Nathan’s Cheesy Passover Dishes

We’re pretty excited to welcome Joan Nathan to Murray’s on May 10 for an evening of cheese and chatting.  As the author of ten cookbooks, and a James Beard awardwinner to boot, Joan knows a thing (or three) about cooking with cheese.  In May we’ll be tasting cheese, sipping wine and trying a few recipes from her latest cookbook.  And this month, with Passover right around the corner, we asked Joan to share a few of her favorite cheese-filled recipes that she uses at her own Seder.  

FARFEL AND CHEESE – From Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook

About four days into Passover when my daughter, Daniela, was young she commented that, “We look forward to the Seder for so long that we forget after a few days, matzah gets old!”  I adapted this farfel and cheese recipe precisely for that reason.  No one can get sick of mac and cheese!  Especially when it’s full of cheddar AND sour cream. 

4 large eggs

3 cups matzah farfel

½ lb cheddar cheese (so many options here!  Try Tickler, Cabot Clothbound, or Montgomery’s – or a mixture of many)

1 ½ cups sour cream

6 tablespoons butter or pareve margarine

2 cups milk

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

     Beat 3 of the eggs and pour over the farfel.  Mix well.

     Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a casserole.  Pour the farfel mixture into the casserole.

     Cut the cheddar cheese into a small dice.  Add the cheese to the farfel.  Using a spoon add the sour cream in dollops and dot with the butter or margarine.  Mix together the milk, remaining egg, salt, and pepper, and pour it over the casserole.

     Bake covered, for 30 minutes.  Uncover and let brown for 10 to 15 minutes more.  Scoop out onto plates.

Serves 8.

PAPETON D’AUBERGINES (EGGPLANT GRATIN) – From Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous

Eggplant is a favorite of mine and I never need an excuse to make it.  In this recipe, roasting the eggplant makes it nice and smoky and with all the cheese, no one feels the least bit deprived.  I like to serve it alongside a simple green salad and use whatever cheeses I have on hand.  You should feel free to experiment.

1/4 cup olive oil

3 large eggplants, about 4 pounds

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 cup feta or goat cheese, crumbled

1 cup grated Gruyere or Mozzarella cheese

1 sprig thyme or ½ teaspoon dried thyme

1 sprig oregano or ½ teaspoon dried oregano

4 tablespoons matzo meal

Freshly grated pepper to taste

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 6-cup gratin dish with some of the oil.

If grilling the eggplants over a gas stove, make small slits all over the outside.  Using tongs, hold them over the open flame, rotating them every few minutes until they are soft and collapsed. If roasting them in the oven, cut them in half lengthwise. Brush the cut sides with olive oil, and place them cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes or until very soft.

Place the cooked eggplant in a sieve over a large bowl, sprinkle with a teaspoon of salt, and let cool and drain for about 15 minutes.  Peel, discarding the skin and any liquid that has accumulated, and, using 2 knives, chop the eggplant in a sieve over a bowl. 

Stir the feta and gruyere cheeses, the thyme, the oregano, 3 tablespoons of the matzo meal, a few sprinklings of pepper and all but a tablespoon of the remaining oil. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and stir into the eggplant mixture. Then pour everything into the gratin dish. Brush with the remaining oil and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese and the remaining matzo meal. Bake for an hour or until golden on top.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Thanksgiving Recipe: Thanksgrilled Cheese



Featuring Spring Brook Tarentaise & Fresh Ricotta

From Chef & Fromager Tia Keenan

You know you’re going to have some serious leftovers after your Thanksgiving feast. We all make sandwiches, but why stick with the predictable? This is the most delicious and decadent Thanksgiving leftover sandwich we’ve ever heard of….don’t worry, we’ll understand if you skip the meal and go straight to the leftover phase.

For the bread:
4 slices of Brioche or whatever bread or rolls you have around.
1 pint Half & Half
3 eggs
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Zest of one lemon
Non-stick spray

1.Whisk half & half and eggs until thoroughly blended. Add Pumpkin Pie Spice and lemon zest and blend thoroughly.
2. Place bread in a shallow dish and pour liquid over bread. Turn the bread once to coat with liquid, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours.

For the filling:
Leftover: Turkey, Cranberry Sauce, Yams or Sweet Potato (pureed)
4 ounces fresh cheese, such as ricotta or chevre
4 ounces Spring Brook Tarentaise, grated

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Remove the bread from the refrigerator.
3. Spray a skillet with non-stick spray and place over medium heat. Cook the bread on each side until crisp and dark brown. Be patient, bread should cook for about 15 minutes on each side.
4. When bread is done, assemble the sandwich. Begin with a generous smear of Yam puree, then fresh cheese, turkey, Tarentaise and cranberry sauce.
5. Place in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted, approximately 15 minutes.
6. Slice the sandwiches into halves and serve with a side of gravy.

Thanksgiving Recipe: Scalloped Roots & Tubers


Scalloped Roots & Tubers

Featuring Cabot Clothbound Cheddar  & Spring Brook Tarentaise

From Chef de Cuisine Brendan Corr of Co. NYC

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate everything our great country has to offer. Chef Corr has provided us with the perfect recipe for that purpose – using not only the seasonal bounty from our nation’s vegetable farmers, but two of the finest made-in-the-USA cheeses we can think of. As patriotic as waving a flag, but more delicious, this dish has a place on every Thanksgiving table.

4 lbs mixed celeriac and sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes)

1 1/2 T Black Pepper

2 t Salt

6 cups whole milk

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)

3/4 lb Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, grated or crumbled

3/4 lb Spring Brook Tarentaise, grated

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Wash and trim celeriac and sunchokes, then slice into discs of equal thickness.
3. In a large pot, combine milk, celeriac, sunchokes, salt & pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, taking care not to let the milk scald.
4. Remove vegetables and set aside.
5. In a separate pot, melt the butter and mix in the flour until the mixture is smooth and free of lumps. Cook, stirring constantly, until it bubbles, but don’t let it brown.
6. Add the milk to the butter and flour mixture, stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, then cook for 2-3 minutes more until the mixture thickens (this is Bechamel sauce).
7. Mix the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar and Spring Brook Tarentaise cheeses and stir to combine with vegetables.
8. Layer vegetables in a 9 x 13 baking dish, pour the Bechamel on top, making sure that it covers everything.
8. Bake at 375 degrees for about an hour until cheese is melted and vegetables are golden brown.

Thanksgiving Recipe: Acorn Squash Gratin


Acorn Squash Gratin

Featuring Gruyere and Nueske’s Bacon

From Chef Harold Moore of Commerce

We’re all about any recipe that celebrates the flavors of the season and combines them with the year-round indulgences of cheese and cured meat. Here’s a simple and delicious side dish that makes good use of the squash and apples that are abundant at the farmer’s markets this time of year.

1 quart acorn squash puree (Approximately. 3 roasted and peeled acorn squashes)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons soft butter

1 firm apple diced

1 cup Nueske’s Bacon, cooked crisp and diced

1 cup grated Gruyere

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat acorn squash puree on the stove top. When it is hot, stir in the brown sugar and butter. Season the mixture with salt and pepper according to your personal taste.
2. Fill a one quart gratin dish (or other oven-safe dish) with the squash
3. Top the squash with the diced apple and bacon
4. Liberally sprinkle with grated gruyere cheese.
5. Bake the gratin in a preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown. (Approximately 15 minutes)

Thanksgiving Recipe: Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Chicken Mole Enchiladas

Featuring Maple Leaf Jalapeno Jack & Mozzarella Co. Queso Blanco with Chiles

From Chef Andres A. Barrera of City Winery

They do things a little differently for Thanksgiving in the Barrera household, and at Murray’s we support that. After all, what is Thanksgiving about if not family tradition and indulgence in delicious food? We would certainly be thankful to be served these enchiladas any day of the year.

2 QT water

½ carrot, chopped

1 celery stalk, chopped

¼ Spanish onion, peel off

1 bay leaf, whole

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ cup Spanish onion, diced small

1 clove garlic, minced

2 cups canned tomatoes, smooshed by hand

1 small canned chipotle pepper, minced

½ cup Maple Leaf Jalapeno Jack cheese, grated

6 corn tortillas

½ cup mole poblano base *found in any respectable Mexican grocery store*

1 cup chicken broth

½ cup Mozzarella Company Queso Blanco with Chiles

Salt & Pepper

  1. Pre heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a saucepot, bring to a boil 2qts of water, the chopped carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf & 1½ Table spoons of salt.  Add the chicken breast and cook until still slightly pink in the center, think “mid-rare”.
  3. In a smaller saucepan heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium flame & add the small diced onion & minced garlic.  Cook for about 4 minutes allowing to brown only very slightly.  Add the minced chipotle & smooshed can tomatoes along with some juice from the tomatoes. Season to taste with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  4. Reduce heat to low & allow to slowly cook until the chicken breast is finished cooking in the other pot.
  5. Remove the vegetables & the breast from cooking liquid and set aside 1 cup of the remaining chicken flavored broth.
  6. Carefully hand shred the hot chicken breast into long thick strips. Evenly divide the shredded chicken amongst the 6 corn tortillas. Sprinkle a generous amount of the Maple Leaf Jalapeno Jack cheese over the chicken. 
  7. Remove the tomato sauce from the stove & pour ½ of the sauce into an oven safe baking pan. Roll the tortillas into “flute” shapes and place flap side down into the tomato sauce lined dish.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the enchiladas and place into preheated oven for 8 minutes.
  8. In a small saucepan, bring to a boil, 1 cup of the reserved chicken broth.  Add ½ cup mole base & stir until the mole is thoroughly dissolved & has the consistency of melted chocolate.
  9. Carefully remove the enchiladas from the oven and transfer to plates.  Pour your desired amount of mole sauce over the enchiladas and crumble Cojita cheese over the top.
  10. Serve & enjoy!

Yields Six Enchiladas