Back to the Kitchen: Favorite Fall Recipes for Yom Kippur

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Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement and the busiest day of the year for synagogues. It’s a day of fasting and repentance to reconcile mistakes from the past year and to think about the year ahead. Most Jews take off from work and many schools are closed on this day, even those who are not religious at other times. This is the busiest day of the year for synagogues. Many leave work early the night before, so they have time for a large, slow meal before a day long fast.

Matzo Ball Soup

Families often get together before sundown, which will be this Friday and enjoy a pre-fast meal, and  then for “break-the-fast” after sundown on Saturday. Many  have traditional suppers, so the following recipes (with a seasonal Fall twist) are some of my friends’ family favorites. I have an interest in the spiritual practices of other religions and an interest in how different families celebrate. The one thing that I know for sure about the rich Jewish culture is the food is fantastic and a gift for all of us to enjoy!

Pumpkin Soup

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 teaspoons curry powder

1/2-teaspoon ground coriander

Pinch ground cayenne pepper

3 (15 oz) cans 100 percent pumpkin or

6 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin

6 cups of chicken sock

2 cups of milk

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2-cup heavy cream

Melt butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add spices and stir for a minute more. Add pumpkin and 5 cups of chicken broth; blend well. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer soup, in batches, to a blender or food processor. Cover tightly and blend until smooth. Return soup to saucepan. With the soup on low heat, add brown sugar and mix. Slowly add milk while stirring to incorporate. Add cream. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Matzo Ball Soup

3 large eggs

3 tablespoons rendered chicken fat or Crisco

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

14 tablespoons matzo meal

10 cups chicken stock

3 carrots, sliced

2 medium parsnips, sliced

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and chicken fat until combined. Whisk in 1/2-cup water and salt. Add matzo meal, and whisk until combined. Cover and refrigerate batter until firm, 2 to 4 hours. Line a baking pan with parchment. Bring chicken stock to a boil in a large wide saucepan, and reduce heat to a simmer. Slightly dampen your fingertips, and form 2 heaping tablespoons of batter into a 1 1/2-inch ball, being careful not to compress the mixture too much. Place ball on the prepared pan. Repeat process with remaining batter. Using a large spoon, slide the matzo balls into the simmering stock. Once all the balls have been added, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add carrots and parsnips, cover, and continue cooking for 20 to 25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the matzo balls are cooked through. Garnish with fresh dill, and serve immediately

Basic Chicken Stock

1 red onion, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

2 stalks celery

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 cups white wine

1 chicken carcass

10 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot combine all above ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and cover and simmer for one hour. Strain the stock and toss the solids. (You should get about 10 cups) You can freeze half or you can freeze in ice cube trays and pop out single servings as needed for sauces.

Mix Greens with Pears, Gorgonzola and a Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tablespoon Maple Syrup

6-tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 cup Olive Oil

Fresh ground pepper

Whisk all ingredients together and set aside.

1 bag spinach

1 bag arugula

1 bag Mache

(Or any mixture of harvest Greens)

Toss all lettuces together. Lightly toss with dressing.

3 ripe Asian pears, cored and sliced

6 ounces gorgonzola

Arrange lettuces on platter. Place pears prettily on top and sprinkle with Gorgonzola and fresh ground pepper.

Breaded Maple Baked Chicken

4 tablespoons Dijon Mustard

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons peanut oil (divided)

2 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem and chopped fine

Salt and pepper to taste

5-pound chicken, cut into pieces

2 cups bread crumbs

Whisk together Dijon, maple syrup, 1-tablespoon oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Slather the chicken with the mixture, cover and refrigerate 3hours or over night. Preheat the oven to 400 and set a wire rack in a large baking sheet. Combine the breadcrumbs with 1-tablespoon oil on a plate. Dredge the skin side in the breadcrumbs. Arrange breaded side up on the wire rack leaving an inch or so between pieces. Bake about 45 minutes and serve warm or let cool and put in the fridge and serve cold.


3 tablespoons fine bulgur

3 medium firm ripe tomatoes, diced into small cubes

6 spring onions, trimmed and very thinly sliced

Large bunch flat-leaved parsley, pulled from the stem and sliced

Large bunch mint leaves, pulled from the stem and sliced

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Salt and pepper to taste

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

2/3 cup olive oil

Rinse the bulgur in several changes of cold water. Drain well and put in a bowl. Stir it with a fork every now and then to help it fluff up.

Drain the tomatoes of their juice and put in a large bowl. Add the spring onion and herbs. Sprinkle the bulgur all over. Season with the cinnamon, allspice and pepper. Add salt to taste. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and mix well. Taste and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Serve immediately.

Apple Crumble Cake

1 stick butter

2 cups flour

3-teaspoons baking powder

1-teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup sugar

1 pound granny smith apples, peeled, cored and chopped

Juice of one lemon

2 eggs, beaten

5 tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Powder sugar to dust

Pre heat the oven to 375. Spray a 10-inch cake tin with bakers joy. Squeeze the lemon over the chopped apples and set aside.

In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and work in the butter until you have fine crumbs. Add cinnamon. Mix in the sugar, and then stir in the apples and beaten egg. At this point, the mix will seem very dry. Add milk, a little at a time, until the mixture binds together. It will still be very stiff and it will seem as if there are too many apples in the bowl. Pour into your cake tin and smooth down a little. The tin should be quite full, but that’s okay, as the cake won’t rise very much. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is beautifully golden brown. Dust with powder sugar and serve.

Gwen Kenneally is the owner of Back to the Kitchen, Full Service Catering and Party Planning. She is the co-founder and master baker at Magpie Gourmet Mini Pies. Check out her websites and She wrote a weekly food column for the Sun Community Newspapers.

About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.