Question: How long does it take five young professionals in San Francisco to come to consensus on high holiday plans via email and text? I’ll never know the answer. My friends and I started discussing it at the end of August and went in circles for weeks. It was like the set-up to a bad joke – liberal Jews, raised reform, reconstuctionist, conservative, one a convert, all of us with a slight twinge of traditionalism mixed with egalitarianism, and none of us are currently members of a particular synagogue. We even specifically started “shul shopping” by going to some shabbat services looking for a place with the right mix for all of us. The only thing I learned is that the perfect shul does not exist, but in line with the old joke, the one that each person won’t set foot in, does. Luckily, through an impromptu shabbat dinner, we all ended up at the same table and settled on plans within ten minutes. It was a High Holiday miracle!
The dinner came together because I was looking for a Rosh Hashana recipe and serendipitously one appeared in my inbox. I subscribe to a few recipe list and one for salmon with apples and fennel appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Salmon is a pain to make for a crowd because it can easily get dried out, plus it is expensive, not to mention that my good friend, Sarah, now won’t eat fish because she believes it is all unsustainable and toxic. Chicken is almost always the answer for a meal for a crowd of Jews and what I turned to. Since I was sort inventing this recipe I decided a test run was necessary before my larger Rosh Hashana shabbat dinner and invited my friends to serve as guinea pigs.
After working all day and grocery shopping the thought of doing the photography was feeling a bit overwhelming so I called in an old debt and enlisted my good friend Ryan Simon to serve as the official photographer. He has been nagging me to upgrade to an SLR, so this seemed like a good opportunity to let him show me the goods and if it might be worth the investment. All the photos on this post are his, and I threw in a couple of extra because they were particularly good, so I urge you to click and enlarge them.
I also suggest you to look back at some past Rosh hashana recipes as we have a really nice collection going. I personally will be reviewing the how to braid a spiral challah post so I can impress my guest next week. L’Shana Tova!
This recipe is a great combination of the symbols of Rosh Hashana, apples and honey, with the extra bonus of the fennel. Throw in a starch side and a salad and you have a full meal. It really couldn’t be easier. When baking chicken pieces I prefer to use thighs as they stay more moist and flavorful. Whole legs with the drumstick and thighs still in tact are a great option, providing the perfect serving size for most adults and a nice looking plate.
Roast Chicken with Apples, Honey and Fennel
- 4 whole chicken legs (with thighs)
- 2 fennel bulbs, fronds removed, bulbs cut into wedges
- 1 shallots, sliced
- 3 Tbsp honey
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 2 Tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 apples, cored and sliced into wedges
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- Pre-heat oven to 450°F
- In a large roasting pan, arrange chicken, shallot, and fennel.
- Whisk together oil,vinegar and honey.
- Drizzle oil mixture over chicken and vegetables. Toss to coast and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast 30 minutes.
- Add apples to pan and roast until fennel is browned and chicken is cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes more.