For Leah Schapira, the opportunity to help write a Kosher cookbook with some of today’s best-known Jewish food personalities further solidified her love for her community.
“It’s a bit of a sisterhood,” Schapira said. “It’s very unique to write a cookbook—people compare it to having a baby. There is definitely a sisterhood when co-authoring a cookbook, even with all of its difficulties. These women are so passionate about sharing their love for food, and they put so much effort into it.”
Schapira, who runs the Jewish women’s lifestyle blog Between Carpools, was asked to assemble a team of kosher cookbook writers to compose Best of Kosher, which hit bookstores on Nov. 15. Featuring classic recipes and new creations from 13 different authors, this cookbook showcases the diversity of modern kosher cooking, while still following the laws of the kashrut, such as avoiding certain meats and not combining meat with dairy products.
“Kosher food always has that connotation of ‘Oh, is it just rugelach and challah?’” remarked Schapira. “They just don’t get it because kosher food can still apply to different ethnic foods: Indian, Middle Eastern, Asian foods. [Jewish people] can come from all different places. We’re excited to be showcasing the variety of kosher food; it can be beautiful, delicious, healthy—not just gefilte fish in a can.”
Recipe developer Susie Fishbein, known for the Kosher by Design cookbook series, created this recipe to combine two of her favorite foods: lamb and pretzels. “Some people who see this recipe might think, ‘Why make the extra effort of breading and searing when lamb is so good when just simply prepared?’” writes Fishbein. “You’ll answer that question yourself once you try this—the number-one feedback fans would say about this dish was, ‘It was sooo worth it!’”
Keeping with the tradition of eating fried foods during Hanukkah, the lamb chops are sizzled in a thin layer of oil. The crunchy crust uses pretzels two ways—ground into a flour-like meal and crushed into larger crumbs—to achieve a unique crust full of different textures. Schapira says this recipe is perfect for the holidays—low effort, but impressive on the plate.
“These pretzel-crusted lamb chops are something that you wouldn't just whip up on a Monday night, but you would for Hanukkah,” says Schapira. “With some latkes on the side and a fresh green salad, you have a beautiful dinner that feels more elevated than a regular weeknight dinner.”
Lamb pairs well with a wide range of medium- to full-bodied reds, such as Cabernet Sauvignon blends, Syrah, Grenache and more. Below, Wine Spectator reccomends eight kosher picks to keep these cold winter nights shining bright.
Pretzel-Crusted Lamb Chops with Mustard Sauce
Excerpted from Best of Kosher. Copyright (c) 2022. Used with permission of the publisher, Mesorah Publications Ltd. All rights reserved.
- 9 cups mini salted pretzels, divided
- 1 cup flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon fish-free Worcestershire sauce
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled, divided
- 12 baby lamb chops
- Oil, as needed
For the mustard sauce:
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon dried dill
1. Set a cookie cooling rack into a baking sheet. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. In a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, process 1 cup pretzels until pretzels are flour-like. In a shallow bowl, combine processed pretzels with flour.
3. In a second shallow bowl, whisk together eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary.
4. Add remaining pretzels to the food processor; pulse into coarse crumbs; you should see the texture of the pretzels. Place into the third shallow bowl (do not use any powdered pretzels here).
5. Dredge both sides of each lamb chop in the flour mixture, shaking off any excess, then egg mixture, then pretzel crumbs, pressing to adhere. Place onto the prepared rack.
6. Heat a thin layer of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add lamb chops, a few at a time; sear until crumbs are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Don’t move the chops once they hit the pan. Use tongs to turn each lamb chop. Return lamb to the cooling rack. Continue until all are done, wiping out the pan between batches (this is important so the lamb maintains a nice color) and adding more oil as needed. Transfer lamb back into the pan; bake for 10 minutes. The middle of the lamb chops should still be pink.
7. Meanwhile, prepare the mustard sauce. In a small pot over medium heat, whisk together wine, soy milk, mustard, remaining rosemary, salt and dill. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 1 minute until heated through.
8. Serve lamb chops with mustard sauce. Serves 6.
Eight Elegant Kosher Reds
Note: The following list is a selection of outstanding and very good wines from recently rated releases. More options can be found in our Wine Ratings Search.
GOLAN HEIGHTS WINERY
Cabernet Sauvignon Galilee Yarden 2018
Score: 91 | $39
WS Review: An elegant, refined red, with silky tannins encasing layers of wild berries and plum, sweet and savory spices. Fresh and balanced, thanks to tangy acidity, pencil shavings and chalky tannins that carry the medium-long finish. Kosher. Drink now through 2028. 22,000 cases made, 6,000 cases imported.–Bruce Sanderson
Syrah Israel 2018
Score: 90 | $75
WS Review:A well-crafted red, with inviting ripe cherry compote, sweet red licorice and smoked herbs supported by fine tannins and mouthwatering acidity. Vibrant finish, featuring lively fresh pepper and graphite. Kosher. Drink now through 2028. 400 cases made, 300 cases imported.—B.S.
Amichai Solomon Judean Hills 2020
Score: 90 | $40
WS Review: Sappy red currant and black licorice notes meld with violet, wet earth, wild herbs, fresh eucalyptus and milk chocolate on the nose of this chewy red. A nice freshness emerges, while fresh cracked pepper kicks in at the end. Syrah and Petit Verdot. Kosher. Best from 2024 through 2028. 490 cases made, 350 cases imported.—Alison Napjus
Shoresh Red Judean Hills 2020
Score: 90 | $44
WS Review: A powerful red, with ripe blackberry, warm black licorice, singed wild herbs and charred sandalwood gliding through the long finish. Packs a punch of freshly ground white pepper, and is firmed up by mineral accents and muscular tannins. Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Kosher. Best from 2024 through 2030. 2,000 cases made, 520 cases imported.—B.S.
DOMAINE DU CASTEL
Petit Castel Haute-Judée 2020
Score: 89 | $50
WS Review: A generous, inviting wine introduced by warm red licorice and baked cherry, with refreshing iron shavings and chalky, mineral-laced tannins. Balanced and creamy on the palate, this has nice length and poise. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. Kosher. Drink now through 2028. 10,000 cases made, 1,000 cases imported.—Kristen Bieler
Alma Red Galilee 2019
Score: 89 | $22
WS Review: A balanced red, with nice density to the sappy cherry and blackberry flavors, which are supported by a firm frame of chalky tannins and a fine vein of minerals coursing through. The finish reveals smoked meat, cardamom and licorice details. Shiraz, Grenache Noir and Carignan. Kosher. Drink now through 2029. 2,325 cases made.—K.B.
Alon Galilee 2019
Score: 89 | $24
WS Review: A charming red, with inviting sweet tea and red plum infused with anise, pencil shavings and herbs. An easy-drinking, accessible style, thanks to fine-grained tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Kosher. Drink now. 1,400 cases made, 800 cases imported.—K.B.
Carignan Judean Hills Wild Reserve
Score: 89 | $49
WS Review: A vibrant, lively take on Carignan, with juicy pomegranate flavors set against a backdrop of mesquite, white pepper and smoked sweet spice, all framed by fine-grained tannins and a fresh beam of acidity. Kosher. Drink now through 2026. 660 cases made.—K.B.