Wednesday, April 4, 2007

"The Israeli Cookbook" - Passover Minas of Many Kinds

Date I made this recipe: April 2, 2007

The Israeli Cookbook – What’s Cooking in Israel’s Melting Pot by Molly Lyons Bar-David
Published by Crown Publisher’s, Inc.
© 1964

Recipe: Minas of Many Kinds – p. 123

A few weeks ago, when I was exploring South American and African cooking, I pulled out this cook. Given that Monday, April 2, was Passover I made a recipe from this book.

This book is rather interesting in that it features recipes for all Jewish holidays: Shavuot, Purim, Yom Kippur, and the like. For some reason, Passover recipes were few and far between in this book but I finally settled on the recipe for Minas.

The author didn’t explain what minas are except to say that they are popular in Turkey, but when assembled, they resemble lasagna only made with matzo layers.

The author listed four types of minas (hence the title “Minas of Many Kinds”) and I made two: potato type and spinach or chard type.

The potato type was my favorite but if I made the spinach type again, I’d add some spices as that dish turned out to be pretty bland. All in all, salt and pepper should be liberally sprinkled on any of the minas you make as none of the ingredients provide that flavor you’re going to want. (And I’m not even a salt person).

Potato Type Mina – serves 4
1 cup hot oil
4 matzos
3 large boiled potatoes
1 cup grated yellow cheese (Note: I wasn’t sure what to use here so I went with cheddar)
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

Spinach or Chard Type Mina – serves 4
1 cup hot oil
4 matzos
2 pounds spinach, boiled (Note: I used frozen spinach)
1 cup cottage cheese
¼ cup grated yellow cheese
4 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

No matter which mina you make, put ½ cup of the hot oil in a casserole. Dip the matzos in water and line the bottom of the casserole with 2 of them. The basic material for the filling is chopped or sliced or cubed and is always precooked, whether it is the leek bulb, spinach or chicken (but the cheese, of course, is not cooked).

On the bottom layer of the matzos put the basic ingredient and top with the grated cheese (except for the meat mina which you top with the herbs). Cover with the remaining water-dipped matzos and pour the beaten eggs over. Grate a little yellow cheese on top. Put into a 400 degree oven and after 10 minutes, pour on the remaining hot oil. Bake until done (about 30 minutes). Pour off the oil. Cut into serving pieces. This can be eaten hot or cold, but it is best hot and fresh.

Some final notes, I cut these into lasagna-sized strips to serve and that seemed to work well. I also poured off a lot of oil so be prepared! Finally, I love when instructions say “bake until done.” If she didn’t give a time (30 minutes), I wouldn’t know what “done” was. Oh well, the perils of older recipe books!

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