Ina Garten Just Shared Her Passover Menu, and It Includes a 3-Step Dessert

Chag sameach, everybody!

a photo of Ina Garten
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If there's one thing we look forward to for just about every holiday—other than enjoying time with our friends and family—it's an Ina Garten menu reveal. Whether she's doling out tips and turkey for Thanksgiving or doing a quick weenie roast for the Fourth of July, the Barefoot Contessa tends to be the hostess with the most-est.

It's no surprise that Ina's menu-designing expertise extends to the spring holidays—Ina has shared her Easter and Passover menus on her website, so you can get inspiration from her classic, manageable holiday spreads. Her Passover menu is especially easy to recreate, with just four dishes that should be fairly accessible for casual cooks. The meal begins with a cozy bowl of Garten's Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls, then segues into a roasted Brisket with Onions and Leeks, tacks on a side of Orange-Braised Carrots and Parsnips and finishes with a sweet serving of Perfect Poached Fruit.

Ina's chicken-matzo soup is a major win for folks who love to load up their Souper Cubes and have leftovers on hand for whenever the mood strikes—Garten says the soup serves 10, *plus* extra for the freezer. Of course, a mega batch of soup requires a lot of ingredients (and a big pot that some folks may not have on hand). But home cooks who occasionally make their own stock should be familiar with Garten's methods. For this soup, you'll need three 5-pound roasting chickens, lots of carrots, celery, parsnips, onions and garlic. Those ingredients get combined in a stock pot with 7 quarts of water and simmered for about four hours, with the chicken gradually removed, until the water becomes a rich, golden stock.

But if you'd rather pick up your chicken stock from the store, that's okay—you can pick up the recipe where the post-stock-making steps begin. When the stock is strained, heat the stock in your soup pot, bringing it up to a simmer. You should make your matzo balls ahead of the soup stage, using eggs, some of your chicken stock, rendered chicken fat, minced parsley, a little salt and some matzo meal. Let the mixture chill in the fridge for a few minutes to firm up. When the stock is simmering, begin dropping in your golf ball-sized matzo balls, letting them cook for about 30 minutes total, flipping once. When they're cooked, remove them and set aside. To the stock, add 4 cups each diced carrots and diced celery, plus 1/4 cup each minced dill and minced parsley. Shred the meat from the chickens, leaving it in fairly large pieces, and return it to the stock. The stock should simmer over low heat for five minutes, then it's ready to serve over a matzo ball or two in each bowl.

While the soup recipe is the most arduous of anything on Ina's Passover menu, you really can take some of the labor off your plate by using your favorite low-sodium chicken stock from the store, and opting for chicken breasts rather than whole roasting chickens. But the brisket requires a little prep work as well—you'll need to salt it and let it rest in the refrigerator overnight, wrapped tightly. The next day, gather your brisket, some canola oil, Wondra flour, yellow onions, red onions, leeks, garlic, dry red wine, beef stock, fresh thyme and tomato paste to start your main dish. First, coat the brisket in a sprinkling of salt, pepper and Wonder flour, then sear it in a Dutch oven with a little canola oil over medium-high heat. When the brisket has browned on all sides, transfer it to a roasting pan. Then cook up some onions and leeks in the Dutch oven with garlic, wine, beef stock and thyme. Put some of the cooked veggies below the brisket in the roasting pan, then smear some tomato paste to the top of the brisket and pile on more cooked veggies. Wrap the pan in aluminum foil and roast the brisket for about 3 hours and 30 minutes at 350°F, then let it rest and slice against the grain.

Ina's carrots and parsnips recipe is perfect for those who consider themselves beginner-level cooks, so folks who aren't up for a big batch of from-scratch soup or a brisket roast may find this one more approachable. For this side, gather carrots, parsnips, shallots, orange zest and juice, olive oil, thyme, red pepper flakes and some flat-leaf parsley. When your carrots and parsnips are well-scrubbed—and maybe cut in half lengthwise, if you have some especially large parsnips—add them to a Dutch oven with shallots, orange zest and juice, olive oil, thyme, red pepper flakes and some salt and pepper. Bring the contents up to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pot with a lid or some foil and move it to the oven to cook for an hour and 30 minutes at 275°F. When the veggies are tender, discard the thyme, drizzle on the remaining orange juice and sprinkle on the parsley, then serve. The carrots can even be served at room temp, so you can make them ahead of the brisket, if you like.

For Ina's grand finale, you'll need whole Bosc pears, plus a dessert wine like Vin Santo, sugar, a cinnamon stick, cloves, vanilla bean, orange and lemon zest, dried figs, dried apricots and pitted prunes. In a large, shallow saucepan, combine the wine, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and zest with water. Bring the mixture up to a simmer for 10 minutes. Prepare the pears by peeling them, leaving the stem attached, and scooping out the seeds through the bottom. Poach the pears in two batches, laying the pears on their sides to simmer for 20 minutes, turning once. Do the same with the second batch, then swap in the first batch of pears and add the dried fruit to the pan, cooking for 10 minutes. When everything is tender, remove the cinnamon, cloves and vanilla from the pot and let the mixture chill in your serving dish until you're ready to dish everything up.

We love that this dessert—in classic Ina style—can be made ahead of time, just like the carrots. Even if Ina's main dishes seem out of reach on a busy day of celebration, the simpler side and dessert would fit right in on any menu. Whether you include one of Ina's recipes in your Passover meals or not, we wish you a reflective, kosher Passover and lots of rewarding time with your friends and family. Chag Pesach sameach!

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