In grade school, my classmates were jealous because they thought I had eight days of extravagant presents for Hanukkah. Truth be told, in our family, as a kid I received gifts for Hanukkah two, maybe three times total. And when we did, my siblings and I all received the same small gifts. It mattered not, as I remember being so appreciative and excited to get these favors, and waiting to light the candles.
The first year we received presents, I was in the second grade, and this is what we all opened on each night: (1) a pencil in our favorite color and with our name; (2) a comb; (3) rabbit's foot; (4) notepad; (5) paperback book; (6) The Sound Of Music album that we all shared; (7) chocolate Hanukkah gelt; and (8) flavored chapstick. Am not sure why I remember that particular Hanukkah so well, but it's embedded in my brain how thrilled we all were to get a pencil with our name on it!
To me, it's all about tradition. I loved the traditions as a kid, and love continuing the rituals today. My BF and I still light the menorah. He is typically the one to fetch the pillowed box from the shed, and place the menorahs around the house.
For years, family food Hanukkah traditions revolved around some sort of brisket, with latkes always making an appearance during the week. More recently, I've been making all variations of short ribs: chipotle, Moroccan, beer braised, etc.
This red wine braised variant, which I've been making for many years, may very well be the favorite. It's easy to make, meltingly tender and savory. The red wine sauce has exceptional depth and flavor, and I love substituting celeriac (celery root) purée in place of potatoes. (For those of you watching the carbs.)
Number of servings: 4
Adapted from: Short Ribs–Bon Appetit (October 2011); Celeriac Purée–Saveur (April 2014)
I'm Jacquie, personal chef & recipe developer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Lover of books, bourbon, chocolate and movies.