With a title like “The 100 Most Jewish Foods,” you can bet this cookbook includes Passover staples — and the new recipe repository by Alana Newhouse, editor-in-chief of Tablet magazine, delivers. Ahead of Passover’s start this Friday, here’s the book’s offering for mina de matzo — a lasagna-esque pie made out of softened, layered sheets of matzo (the unleavened flatbread that is de rigueur during Passover) and filled with meat and veggies.
Mina de matzo
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 large bunch Swiss chard, washed and stemmed
- 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil or duck fat
- 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 lb. ground beef, turkey or chicken
- 4 cups quality marinara sauce, such as Rao’s
- 9 sheets matzo
- 1 large egg
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and place a steamer basket inside. Cover and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Put the chard in the steamer basket, cover and steam for about 5 minutes, until the chard is wilted. Remove from the heat and transfer the chard to a bowl to cool. When the chard is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess moisture and finely chop.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook, stirring now and again, until the onions are translucent but have not yet taken on color, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to caramelize and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some pepper.
4. Add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and some pepper, then remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Spread a third of the marinara over the bottom of a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
6. Fill a shallow dish (large enough to accommodate the matzo) with water. Dip 3 sheets of matzo in the water and let them soften, about 1 minute. (You don’t want to soften the sheets too much or they will fall apart.) Shake the excess water off the softened matzo sheets and arrange them over the marinara in the baking dish, breaking the matzo as necessary to fit. Top with half the ground meat mixture, followed by about half the chopped chard. Repeat with another third of the marinara, 3 soaked matzo sheets, then the remaining meat mixture, the remaining chard and the remaining marinara. Place the remaining 3 matzo sheets on top.
7. In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 tbsp. water until combined. Generously brush the top layer of matzo with the egg wash. Set the egg wash aside.
8. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the foil (set it aside — you may need it later to store the leftover mina de matzo). Brush the top of the mina de matzo with the remaining egg wash, return it to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and glossy, about 15 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces, as you would lasagna, and serving.
Excerpted from “The 100 Most Jewish Foods” by Alana Newhouse (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2019.