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Not Your Bubbe’s Passover Chicken

The respective flavors of my parents’ mixed marriage were never more apparent than during Passover. Usually the holiday dishes of my mother’s Ashkenazi upbringing dominated the dining room table, but during Passover, my father’s Iraqi heritage reigned full-flavor.

Every Passover my parents, brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts would gather around my grandparents’ table and feast on platters of rice flavored with aromatic herbs and spices. Rice was the ideal foil to my grandmother’s saucy kibbeh meatballs, piquant vegetable turshi, and juicy tabeet chicken. For me, Passover food was synonymous with rice. (My mother’s plate was always conspicuously grain-free—old habits die hard, I guess).

And then I met a Nice Jewish Guy of Ashkenazi heritage, with the deeply ingrained (no pun intended) Passover culinary customs to match. Read: no more rice! But I refused to fall into the cliché of bland, starchy Eastern European food. I was determined to work the aromas and flavors of the Sephardi dishes I grew up celebrating into my new, Ashkenazi-friendly repertoire.

When I learned that quinoa was permitted for Passover—even by the stringent standards of OU—I realized I’d found my miracle ingredient. This super-grain has a rice-like texture, is lighter in flavor and consistency than potatoes, and is a perfect accompaniment to meat mains, like my Marmalade-Garlic Glazed Roasted Chicken. I add sweet, tart, plump-when-you-cook-’em dried cranberries and toasted almond slivers for crunch. A colorful dash of cumin and a bright scattering of paprika, along with sautéed onions, enhances the citrus-scented chicken. It’s a gorgeous combination of tastes and textures, and best of all, the vibrant flavor of my childhood Passover remains.

Marmalade-Garlic Glazed Roasted Chicken With Cranberry-Almond Quinoa Stuffing


Cranberry-Almond Quinoa Stuffing:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, well-chopped
2 cups rinsed and cooked quinoa (substitute rice for Sephardi tradition or year-round eating)
1 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
¾ cup slivered almonds
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
Salt & Pepper, to taste

Marmalade-Garlic Glazed Roasted Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons orange marmalade
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon chicken stock
Salt and Pepper, 1 teaspoon each
1 4-5 lb. broiler chicken, rinsed and patted dry


1. In a large skillet over medium-heat, sauté chopped onions in two tablespoons of olive oil until golden brown around the edges, 3-4 minutes.
2. Add the slivered almonds and toast lightly (2 minutes). Fold in the prepared quinoa to the mixture, cook through. Add dried cranberries or dried cherries. Mix in cumin and paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
3. Heat oven to 375F. In a small bowl mix together marmalade, garlic powder, and chicken stock. Place prepared chicken breast side up in roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper, rub with remaining olive oil. Smear marmalade concoction over chicken and inside cavities. When done with marmalade, spoon the quinoa stuffing into the chicken. Tie drumsticks, and if you cannot tuck the wings underneath the bird, truss the wings. Place any left over quinoa stuffing around the chicken.
4. Place cooking rack in center of oven. Tent aluminum foil over chicken, place in oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 40-45 minutes, or until skin is golden brown and the meat is cooked through when pierced.

View Comments (2)
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