Lidia Celebrates America|Passover Traditions|PBS Food


Passover Traditions: A Reflection

April 6, 2016

Getting Ready for Easter!<br />

Passover is later this month, and it brings me back several years ago to our first Lidia Celebrates America special where we celebrated four different ethnic holidays. I was invited to a home in Brooklyn, along with my friend Ruth Reichl and the four-generation owners of the specialty New York food shop, Russ & Daughters. There I learned about many of the culinary traditions behind Passover. On our Passover seder menu we enjoyed smoked salmon, charoset, chicken soup with matzo balls, and, of course, beef brisket and horseradish.

Reichl, former editor of Gourmet and a longtime Russ & Daughters customer, told me, “As you know, my mother was the world’s worst cook. So this is maybe the only recipe of hers that I would ever dare to share. She loved showing up at Seder with her brisket and everyone would gasp and say I’ve never seen anything like that before!”

This was a very special celebration for me, and that brisket was absolutely delicious. I’m sharing two of my favorite recipes from that memorable holiday here.

Russ & Daughters’ Charoset

Yield: (makes 4 lbs)

  • 2 lbs medium gala or fuji apples (peeled,cored and cut into small cubes)
  • 1 lbs granny smith apples (peeled,cored and cut into small cubes)
  • 10 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 pounds raw walnuts (chopped and toasted)
  • 2/3 lbs golden raisins (cut in smaller pieces if large)
  • 4/5 cup Manishewitz Extra Heavy Malaga Wine
  • 1 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • Juice from 2 lemons


Pour lemon juice over freshly cut apples to prevent the apples from turning brown Mix together all remaining ingredients.

Stays fresh for approximately one week

Brisket: Miriam Reichl’s Corned Beef Ham

Yield: Serves 6

  • 4 pounds whole corned beef brisket
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • Whole cloves
  • 1 can spiced peaches


Cover meat with water in a large pot. Add the bay leaves and onion. Cook over medium heat about 3 hours, until the meat is very tender.

While the meat is cooking, mix the brown sugar and mustard. Preheat oven to 325.

Take meat from water and remove all visible fat. Insert cloves, as if it were a ham. Cover meat with the mustard/sugar mixture and bake one hour, basting frequently with peach syrup.

Surround meat with spiced peaches and serve.

Recipe provided by Ruth Reichl.


Produced by:


Getting Hungry?

Sign up for weekly recipes