A new cookbook offers a Hanukkah dish that combines tradition and something new – Orange County Register

As they say, the Jewish holidays are always either early or late. They never come on time!

Hanukkah is upon us early this year. We’ll start lighting candles at sunset tonight, December 7th, so get ready for an oil crisis, and I don’t mean the price of gas. Who knows when Judas Maccabeus’ small flask of oil will miraculously burn for eight days, which for thousands of years Jewish families will celebrate with a fry-up.

It wouldn’t be Hanukkah without latkes, those crunchy, addictive fried potato pancakes, and plans are already in the works at Temple Beth Tikvah in Fullerton for a latkes and vodka karaoke night on Dec. 12. (Other festivities for the holiday include a Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Matty on Dec. 8 and a cookie exchange on Dec. 13.)

For Jews of Eastern European heritage (the majority in the United States), the inclusion of potato latkes on the menu is sacrosanct, but this holiday is all about the oil, not the potatoes, so why not add something new to your repertoire? I found a recipe for Algerian meatballs in a new cookbook, Shabbat (Avery, $35) by Adeena Sussman, whose first solo cookbook, Sababa, was named a best fall cookbook by The New York Times, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine . Here, the meatballs are fried in olive oil, our nod to the Hanukkah tradition, before being bathed in a rich, aromatically spicy tomato sauce.

The recipe comes from Alex and Rebecca Mandel’s French-Algerian mother, Roxanne. Alex is a friend and neighbor of Sussman’s in Tel Aviv, and when Rebecca visited last summer, they arranged a Zoom cooking session with Roxanne, which demonstrated “her famously tender, juicy Shabbat boulettes (meatballs) and I got to hear some of her stories.” writes Sussman. “Over the next few hours, I learned about Roxanne’s enchanted childhood in Algeria, living near the Mediterranean Sea and drying herself with monogrammed towels brought home from her father’s textile factory.”

In the late 1960s, conditions were less idyllic for Jews in Algeria, and her father had to sell the family business before they fled, “agreeing to pay a government official a 60% ‘commission’ to leave with part from his assets,” writes Sussman.

Shabbat, named a Fall 2023 cookbook by the LA Times, Food & Wine, Eater, and Simply Recipes, is filled with such stories, accompanying recipes from family, friends, local chefs, and chef-recipes, which you will want to consider using for other holidays and occasions. With Saturdays off, the recipes are ready, accessible and relaxed, and Sussman helpfully shares his clever techniques and good preparation.

Judy Barth Cansigor of Fullerton is the author of Jewish Cooking and The Perfect Passover Cookbook. Her website is cookingjewish.com.


From Shabbat: Recipes and Rituals from My Table to Yours by Adeena Sussman.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings



  • 1 medium red potato (8 ounces), peeled and quartered
  • 1 kilogram of ground turkey, preferably a mixture of light and dark meat
  • 1 small onion, finely minced (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fennel
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (5 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 3 pounds tomatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (5 1/2 cups diced), or three 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 chicken stock cubes, crushed
  • 1 1/4 cups water, plus more if needed
  • One 14-ounce can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • One 14-ounce artichoke bottoms or hearts, drained and quartered

Frying and finishing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • Cooked rice, to serve
  • Chopped fresh chives, for garnish


1. Meatballs: In a small saucepan, cover the sliced ​​potato with 2 inches of cold water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer until tender, 16 to 17 minutes. Drain, cool slightly, transfer to a large bowl and puree. Add turkey, onion, parsley, cumin, paprika, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, fennel, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, gently mix everything together, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

2. Sauce: In a very large, high-sided pot or soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, 8 to 9 minutes. Add the tomato puree and cook for 1 minute more, then add the tomatoes, coriander, salt, cinnamon, sugar, bay leaves and stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened and reduced. 15 to 20 minutes. Add the water, chickpeas and artichokes, bring the mixture to a simmer and continue to simmer on low heat while you fry the meatballs.

3. Fry the meatballs and finish the dish: With slightly moistened hands, shape the meat mixture into 27 or 28 walnut-sized balls and arrange them in a baking tray. In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium-low heat. Working in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding the pan, brown meatballs, turning often, until golden brown on all sides, 5 to 6 minutes total. Add the meatballs to the sauce, moving them gently to coat with the sauce, and simmer until the sauce thickens further, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with boiled rice and garnish with jojen.

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