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How to take a can-do attitude to Passover foods

By Jim Romanoff

For the Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, March 20 2012 11:16 p.m. MDT

For an even quicker meal, try our Passover sliders. These bun-less burgers are dipped in beaten eggs, coated with seasoned matzo meal and fried in either olive oil, Passover margarine or, for the absolute best flavor, chicken or duck fat. Serve with sweet potato fries or roasted potatoes to complete the meal.

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MATZO BREI SHEPHERD'S PIE

Start to finish: 1 hour 5 minutes (35 minutes active)

Servings: 6

For the filling:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup diced yellow onion (about 1 medium)

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, quartered

1 1/2 cups diced carrots (3 medium)

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 cup matzo meal

1/2 cup dry red wine (or beef or chicken broth or stock or tomato juice)

3 cups diced cooked brisket

1 1/2 cups beef broth (or chicken broth)

Salt and ground black pepper

For the topping:

4 matzos

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 375 F. Coat an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

To make the filling, in a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and saute until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to brown, about another 5 minutes. Add the carrots and thyme, then cook, stirring often, for another 7 minutes.

Stir in the matzo meal and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly and scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan, for 2 minutes.

Stir in the diced brisket and beef broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is simmering and has thickened slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, crumble the matzos into a large colander placed over a bowl to catch crumbs, then hold the colander under running cold water until the matzos are moist and softened, but not completely disintegrated, 15 to 20 seconds. Transfer to the bowl with crumbs. Add the eggs and salt and mix gently with a fork.

Spread the matzo mixture in an even layer over the top of the brisket mixture, then sprinkle with pepper. Bake until the matzo brei topping is golden and the brisket filling is bubbling.

— Jim Romanoff

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PASSOVER SLIDERS WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS

Start to finish: 35 minutes

Servings: 4

For the caramelized onions:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the sliders:

1 1/4 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef

1 teaspoon onion powder

3/4 cup matzo meal

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup kosher chicken fat, duck fat or extra-virgin olive oil

To make the caramelized onions, in a medium saucepan over medium, heat the oil. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and quite golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.

To make the sliders, in a large bowl, gently mix the ground beef and onion powder (be careful not to over-mix). Form the beef mixture into 8 equal 2-by-3/4-inch patties. Transfer to a plate and set aside. In a wide, shallow bowl, mix together the matzo meal, salt and pepper.

Dip each beef patty into the beaten eggs, turning to coat, then transfer to the dish with the matzo meal. Turn gently to thoroughly coat. Return the coated patties to the plate.

In a large skillet, preferably cast-iron, heat the fat over medium-high. Fry the coated patties in the hot fat, turning once, until crusty and golden-brown, 3 minutes per side for medium-rare or 5 minutes per side for well-done. Serve topped with caramelized onions.

— Jim Romanoff