Food for the hungry and for your holiday table

Rosh Hashanah brings with it many food traditions. One is the Jewish community’s support of local food banks through annual High Holy Days food drives.

Food banks around the Bay Area are working with synagogues and Jewish organizations to collect non-perishable food. Among them is the Alameda County Community Food Bank, which is working with 15 congregations. The San Francisco Food Bank reports last year’s drive collected 7,421 pounds of food. The Marin Community Food Bank also benefits from collections at congregations Kol Shofar and Rodef Sholom.

What to put in those donation barrels? The agencies request peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables, canned tuna and meats, soups, pasta, rice, and canned and dried beans.

The recipes below feature canned ingredients. Cranberried chicken makes a special Rosh Hashanah dinner with its tart topping and savory bread dressing. Make the tuna and chickpea salad ahead for a holiday lunch or break-fast.


Cranberried Chicken

Serves 6 to 8

2 Tbs. oil, plus extra to grease pan

1 large onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1⁄2 tsp. ground black pepper

1⁄2 tsp. salt, divided

1⁄2 tsp. red pepper flakes

1⁄4 tsp. dried ground oregano

1⁄4 tsp. dried ground thyme

1⁄4 tsp. dried ground sage

1⁄4 tsp. dried ground rosemary

1⁄2 cup sliced mushrooms

juice of 1 lemon, divided

1 lb. loaf of rustic, crusty, unsliced bread, torn or cut into 1-inch cubes

1 quart chicken stock or broth, canned or homemade, divided

3 1⁄2 lbs. bone-in chicken parts

2 15-16 oz. cans whole berry cranberry sauce

1⁄4 tsp. dried ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Grease a large baking pan or casserole. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Sauté onion until beginning to soften. Add garlic and sauté until turning light brown. Add pepper, 1/4 tsp. salt, red pepper flakes, oregano, thyme, sage and rosemary and sauté for a moment. Add mushrooms and half the lemon juice. Sauté until the onions and mushrooms are softened through. Put onion and mushroom mixture in a large bowl. Add the bread cubes and 2 cups of the chicken stock, stirring well to combine. Spread mixture evenly in prepared baking pan. Place chicken parts on top of bread mixture in a single layer, skin side up.

Heat the cranberry sauce in a pot over a low heat with 1 cup of chicken stock, the remaining lemon juice, the ginger and the rest of the salt. Stir occasionally until the cranberry sauce begins to liquefy. Pour evenly over the top of the chicken and bread. Loosely tent with foil and place in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and spoon remaining chicken stock over top of chicken. Bake uncovered until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.


Tuna and Chickpea Salad

Serves 4 to 6

1 15-16-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed, divided

1 Tbs. plus 1⁄4 cup lemon juice

1 Tbs. plus 1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 small red pepper, finely chopped

1⁄2 cup onion, minced

1 carrot, finely chopped

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1⁄2 tsp. pepper

1⁄2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. hot sauce (or to taste)

2 5-oz. cans chunk white tuna in water, drained

A day before serving, purée 1 cup of the chickpeas with 1 Tbs. of lemon juice and 1 Tbs. of olive oil. Combine purée in a bowl with remaining lemon juice, olive oil, celery, red pepper, onion, carrot, salt, pepper, cumin and hot sauce. Mix thoroughly. Add in remaining whole chickpeas and tuna, stir to combine. Store in refrigerator overnight. Mix well again before serving.

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and blogger. Her columns alternate with those of Louise Fiszer. She blogs her food at www.clickblogappetit. E-mail questions and suggestions to [email protected].

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].