During Passover, we celebrate the exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Jewish people. We observe customs and traditions rich in symbols. In this article, let's find out how to celebrate Passover, the Jewish Passover. On the program: how to prepare the party, the Passover meal, the Seder, the recipes. We tell you everything!
How to prepare for Passover?
Passover is one of the most important holidays in Judaism, and it is important to prepare for it in advance. Here are the steps to follow to properly prepare for the Passover holiday:
- The Passover holiday begins on 15 Nissan (Jewish calendar) at dusk and lasts for eight days. The dates of Passover in the Gregorian calendar change every year. To find out when Passover falls this year, ask your rabbi or check dates on the internet.
- Plan not to work the first 2 and the last 2 days of Passover. The four intermediate days (Hol Hamoed) are not public holidays and you can carry out your usual activities.
- Clean your interior during the weeks leading up to Passover. This is a big spring cleaning, so that the house is as clean as possible for the start of the party.
- Do your shopping for the Passover meal. Since the Passover seder is quite specific, be sure to get the foods that make it up.
- Get rid of chametz and kosher your kitchen.
How to kosher for Passover?
The utensils (cutlery, pans, pots, etc.) that we use during the year for Chametz cannot be used for the Passover holiday, unless they are koshered. It involves extracting the absorbed chametz through various kashering techniques.
What foods are forbidden on Passover?
During Passover, any form of chametz is prohibited. So to prepare for Passover, it is important to rid your home of all leavened fermented foods.Here is a list of prohibited foods:
- All grains: wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelled.
- Sourdough Bread
You should know that Ashkenazi Jews have the habit of not consuming cereals and legumes that have similarities with the cereals described above.
These are the Kitniot. This concerns rice, maize, alfalfa, millet, mustard, lentils, beans, peas, cumin, soya, etc., as well as their extracts, such as: oil, starch, glucose, dextrose, etc.
The Passover Meal
The first two nights of Passover, we gather around the major event of Passover: the Seder. These are ceremonial meals, where participants (especially children) are reminded of the different aspects of Israel's Exodus from Egypt. The 10 plagues of Egypt and the flight of the Jewish people are told to the whole table. During these meals, we drink wine, and eat the symbols of our abolished slavery and our regained freedom. The Passover meal is articulated around fifteen stages and accompanied by prayers, stories and songs.
The Fifteen Key Steps of the Passover Seder
Here are, in chronological order, the fifteen stages of the Passover Seder:
- Kadech: To open the ceremony, the householder recites Kiddush, and each member of the table holds a first glass of wine.We lean on our left elbow as a sign of freedom
- Our’hatz: We wash our hands in the usual way before the start of the meal.
- Karpas: This involves immersing a vegetable in salt water before tasting it, which arouses the curiosity of children. This custom refers to the heavy labor of Jewish slaves in Egypt.
- Ya'hatz: The middle matzah is broken in two, taking care to keep the largest part for the affikomaniac. This step evokes the episode of the Exodus, when the sea was split in two so that the children of Israel could cross it.
- Maguid : At this stage we pour a second glass of wine and the children are invited to ask four questions in order to find out why this night is different from the others. In response, we read the Haggadah and talk about all the miracles that G‑d performed to free the Jewish people from their slavery.
- Ra’Htsa: We wash our hands with the usual pre-meal blessing.
- Motsi : We recite the Matzah blessing “al akhilat matzah”
- Matzah: We eat the pieces of the three matzahs (we will have taken care to break the lower and upper matzah)
- Maror: The bitter herbs are eaten, taking care to recite the blessing of the Maror.
- Korekh: It involves making a matzah sandwich with the bitter herbs by reading the associated passage in the Haggadah.
- Shoul'hane Orekh: We start the feast, with the hard-boiled egg that we dip in salt water.
- Tsafoun : It's time for the affikomaniac. We take out the half matzah that had been hidden to eat it.
- Berakh: The third glass of wine is poured, which is drunk while reciting the Birkat Hamazone. Then the fourth glass is poured, taking care to fill the glass of the prophet Elijah.
- Hallel: Now is the time to recite the praises recorded in the Haggadah. We drink a fourth glass of wine, leaning to the left.
- Nirtsa: After performing the Seder ritual well, we ask for Hashem’s blessing: “Birouchalayim Habaa Lechana” which means “Next year in Jerusalem”
The Seder Plate
The Seder meaning “order”, this one requires a specific tray which must be composed of the following seven foods:
- 3 matzos
- The Bone (Zeroa)
- The Egg (Beitsa)
- The Bitter Herbs (Maror)
- The Mortar (Haroset)
- The Vegetable (Karpass)
- The Bitter Herbs (Hazereth)
It should be noted that the seder varies according to the Jewish communities and that its composition can vary according to the families.
We share with you our favorite Passover recipes, which will delight the taste buds of the whole family.
Charoset is one of the essential foods of the Seder plate, it represents the mortar with which the Hebrew slaves built the pyramids.
Ingredients for ten people:
-250g ripe dates
-125g of nuts
-125g of unroasted hazelnuts
-60g whole almonds
-1 golden apple
-3 or 4 spoonfuls of sweet red wine
-a bit of grated orange zest
Preparation: Mix and chop everything with a knife or in a chopper for a few seconds to obtain a grainy texture The apple helps to bind the mixture and bring softness to the texture . However, be careful not to put too much otherwise the charoset may be runny. Sometimes half an apple can be enough. Good tasting !
Stuffed Passover Lamb
For the main course, we share this delicious stuffed lamb recipe. As with other meats, the hind parts are not Kosher. Be sure to ask your butcher to remove the legs and cut a pocket for the stuffing.
Ingredients for 8 people:
For the stuffing:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 250g lean minced lamb
- 100g long grain rice
- Ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
- 60g walnuts or chopped almonds
- 90g raisins
- 100g chopped dried apricots
- 1 beaten egg
For the lamb:
- 1 boneless and defatted shoulder of lamb with a pocket
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot- root
- 250ml beef or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- Fresh watercress to garnish
- Prepare the stuffing. Heat the oil in a skillet over low or medium heat. Sauté the onions. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the minced lamb sauté 4-5 minutes, stirring a little with a fork, until the meat has lost its pink color. Add the rice, mix and cook until the rice grains are golden and translucent. Pour 75ml boiling water and season with salt, pepper, turmeric and cumin. Let simmer for 12 to 15 minutes over medium heat. When the rice is ready and there is no more liquid, remove from the heat and let cool. Add the coriander, walnuts, raisins, apricots and beaten egg and mix.
- Preheat the oven (180°). Lay the meat on a cutting board, open side down, season with salt and pepper. Spread the stuffing over the meat, leaving a 2.5 cm border. Roll the meat as evenly as possible on itself and tie everything with kitchen twine, every five centimeters. Brush with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Place the meat, open side down, on a small grill and place in a roasting pan. Cook 20 minutes per 500g of meat. About 20 minutes before the end of cooking, brush with honey and put it back in the oven. Arrange the lamb on a serving platter, cover with foil, keep warm and let rest for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, remove the grill from the roasting pan and remove fat, except 2 tbsp. Pour the arrowroot, 60 ml of water, the stock and the vinegar into the dish. Bring to a boil, reduce the temperature and simmer the sauce for 7-10 minutes, stirring briskly, until smooth and slightly thickened. Pour the sauce into a terrine, Decorate the lamb with watercress.Bon appetit!
Tender, light and fluffy on the inside, this cookie is as delicious as it is easy to make
- 10 eggs
- 8 tablespoons of sugar
- 8 tablespoons cornstarch
Separate the egg yolks and keep the whites in another container. Mix the egg yolks with the sugar and cornstarch. Beating egg whites. Then mix everything.
Pour this preparation into a mold lined with parchment paper and bake for about 20/30 minutes in a hot oven (190°-200°).
At the end of cooking, check with a knife if your biscuit is cooked. The knife should come out dry. When your biscuit is cooked, take it out of its mold and cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil.