Jamie Geller Gets Deliciously Creative With Apples for Rosh Hashanah

September 13, 2012

It’s tough being creative year after year with holiday cooking. Every year I try to draw inspiration from the season and the holiday customs. And just when I come up with a fresh new idea, I realize I already did that, five years ago.

My personal custom on Rosh Hashanah is to make a simanim-inspired menu. The goal is to get the whole mind-body-soul-food connection thing to click in my stomach and then in my brain.  Sure, there are loads of simanim (symbolic foods) to work with – but the challenge is to use them in unexpected ways.  (And don’t tell me to do apple pie and a honey cake. I’ve gotta do those anyway, or hubby will pout.) I know y’all want a little something special.

Here goes my creative use of all those farm fresh apples this Rosh Hashanah: Apple and Parsnip Soup. Don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. This one has no added sugar, with just a hint of sweetness from the apples.

Apple and Parsnip Soup

Prep Time : 15 min

Cook Time : 30 min

Ready Time : 45 min

Servings: 6


2 tablespoons olive oil

2 large shallots, peeled and sliced

1 pound parsnips, peeld and cut into ½-inch pieces

4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch pieces, plus more for garnish if desired

½ teaspoon curry powder

1½ teaspoon ground coriander

½ teaspoon garlic powder

5 cups chicken flavored broth

kosher salt

freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté 2 minutes. Add parsnips and sauté 3 minutes more. Add apples and stir 1 minute. Add curry powder, coriander and garlic powder, stir to coat. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool.

Either with an immersion blender or working in batches, puree soup in blender or food processor until smooth, thinning with more broth if desired. Return soup to clean pot and bring to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve, divide between bowls and garnish with olive oil and sliced apple if desired.


Next, try my Chicken With Apples and Fennel.  See how it is done quickly and easily in this short video.

Chicken With Apples and Fennel

Tip: Using a mandoline saves a ton of time and will ensure that all ingredients are uniform in size. Not only does it look pretty, but it will also help the apples and vegetables cook evenly.

Prep Time : 10 minutes

Ready Time : 10 minutes

Servings: 4


1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon mustard powder

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 (4-pound) chicken, cut into eighths

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, in 1/4-inch slices

1 cup fennel, in 1/4-inch slices

2 tart apples, unpeeled, cored and in 1/4-inch slices

1 cup Manischewitz Reduced Sodium All Natural Chicken Broth


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon, mustard, thyme, salt, and pepper. Rub over the chicken.
Heat oil, over high heat, in an ovenproof saute pan that is large enough to fit all the chicken in one layer without crowding the pan. If the pan is too small, work in batches. Brown chicken pieces about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add onions, fennel, and apples to the saute pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure they don’t burn.

Return chicken and any accumulated juices to the saute pan with onions, fennel, and apples; cook for 5 minutes.

Add broth and place pan in the oven. Continue cooking for 30 minutes.

Arrange chicken on a large platter. Surround chicken with onions, fennel, and apples. Pour pan juices over top.


And finally, for dessert try a figure-forgiving treat, my Sweet Baked Apple Strudel Egg Roll.

Sweet Baked Apple Strudel Egg Roll

Prep Time : 15 min

Cook Time : 30 min

Ready Time : 45 min

Servings: 8


2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch chunks

1/4 currants or raisins

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons honey

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

8 Gefen Egg Roll Wrappers

1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar


Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add apples and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly softened. Add currants, hazelnuts, sugar, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon and cook for 2 minutes more. Let cool.

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Lay one egg roll wrap in front of you with a tip pointing down. Spoon about 3 tablespoon of filling into the middle of the wrap. Lightly brush each corner with egg wash. Fold bottom corner up and over the filling, tuck each side in and continue to roll up, sealing tightly. Place on a greased baking sheet, seam side down. Spray egg rolls with cooking spray and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.


What’s your creative idea for a simanim-inspired soup recipe?  Try to work with these popular simanim:  leeks, gourds, spinach, apples, honey, beets, dates, carrots, pomegranates. You get extra points if you use the piece de resistance — a fish or lamb’s head!


Jamie Geller is the author of the best-selling Quick & Kosher cookbook series, creator of the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine and host of the popular Quick & Kosher cooking show online at and on-air on JLTV.  Join the world’s largest kosher food community on to discover 5,000 FREE kosher and Jewish recipes, inspiring menu ideas, how-to videos and more! Follow Jamie’s cooking adventures on Twitter @JoyofKosher and on