Friday, September 29, 2006

shloggen kaporos .... casting your sins

virtual kaparah chicken

as the most important & holiest day in the jewish calendar — yom kippur — quickly approaches [this year lasting from sunday night until one hour after sunset on monday night], we hope for a new year filled with good health, prosperity, & most importantly peace, both within ourselves and across humanity worldwide. G-d only knows we need it.

yom kippur reminds us yearly that we are not without having done wrong in both our own lives and the lives of others around us — be it intentional or not. on this sanctified day however we are also reminded that our lives can be renewed and our spirits refreshed. we reflect upon how we treated others around us and also ourselves. there is hope to make better the coming year.

with all the awful events of the past year[s], we hope for this more than ever.

one of the traditions of yom kippur is the ancient custom, still practiced today by some communities, of casting one's sins before the commencement of the holiday with the ritual offering of a chicken. this ceremony is called kapporot[h] or shloggen kaporos in yiddish.

the chicken is the symbolic & vicarious atonement for our sins. nothing goes to waste and the animal itself is respected in both the way it is offered and used after its death. the meat of the chicken is traditionally eaten at the prefast meal and used in soup. to see pictures of the ceremony look here. it is interesting to note that:

[...] the definitive primary Jewish legal text, the Shulchan Aruch, or "Code of Jewish Law," notes the custom of Kapparot, but disapproves of its practice. The authoritative glosses of the Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserles), though, which present normative Ashkenazic practice, note that the custom has its illustrious defenders, and maintains that where it exists it should be preserved.

quote was taken from Aish and can be read here in its entirety. these days, many people use coins wrapped in a handkerchief as a substitute for this offering.

for more on the rituals and history of yom kippur, read about it in this site.

the foods for erev yom kippur are usually bland, easily digestable and not heavily salted or spiced ... and for good reason. this is so that one will not become overly thirsty or have attacks of indigestion. for 25 to 26 hours there is no drinking of any kind and no eating [though exceptions are made for children and those who are ill, under doctor's care or pregnant/nursing].

while i gave a recipe and demonstration earlier for kreplach, i would like to give a recipe for something called ricciolini — an italian prefast addition to the soup eaten on erev yom kippur. this recipe is from the author of the book La Cucina nella Tradizione Ebraica by author Giuliana Ascoli Vitali-Norsa. the second recipe is a turkey loaf made in the italian way, and is called polpetonne di tacchino. please note that these are difficult recipes and require time to prepare, if you are adventurous & so-inclined to try them.

ricciolini in brodo

2 eggs
2 1/2 cups [250 g] flour
pinch of salt
2 c [500 ml] broth, or more


make pasta as you normally would, adding extra flour to make the dough come out quite stiff

keep dough covered with a damp cloth or it will dry out during the preparation

take small pieces of the dough and roll them out with your rolling pin, not too thinly [between 1/8 and 1/16 of an inch — 2-3 mm]

lightly grease the sheets of dough now obtained with oil or chicken fat and cut them into thin strips about 2 inches (4 cm) long. stretch them out with your hands, rolling them under the ball of your right thumb to give them a curl [the word ricciolino means curl].

cook them in the broth and serve.

*making this is rather lengthy process. you have to roll out the dough a little at a time or it dries out before you've worked it.

polpetonne di tacchino [turkey loaf]
not a beginner's recipe

small turkey with skin, weighing at least 4 1/2 pounds [2 k]
6 eggs
pound [500 g] ground veal
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
3 eggs


hard boil three eggs, set aside.

carefully make an incision up the back of the turkey to cut the skin, and skin the bird, taking care not to tear any holes in the skin [if the skin tears along the wings, sew up the tears].

cut the meat from the bones, selecting the best and cutting it into filets. grind the remaining trimmings with the veal. once you have ground the meat, take the turkey bones, together with beef bones, a piece of beef [if you want], and the requisite herbs -- onion, carrot, and celery -- and make broth to cook the turkey loaf in.

now turn you attention to the filling: combine the ground meat, the remaining three eggs and the nutmeg, and season everything to taste with salt and pepper. next, peel a clove of garlic and rub it over the turkey skin, which you should spread out on your work surface. once you have rubbed, lay down the turkey filets lengthwise, then a layer of ground meat, then a layer formed of the hard-boiled eggs cut in half, then another layer of ground meat, and then sew up the skin, using cotton thread and making sure to seal up any tears that may have formed. you will thus have a large meat loaf; poke it with a thick needle to let out any air that might be trapped within.

let the broth cool before you settle the turkey loaf into it; if you want to be absolutely certain the loaf won't split as it cooks place it in a clean muslin bag. bring the pot to a simmer and cook the loaf for 2 1/2 hours, then remove it, sandwich it between two plates, put a weight on the upper one, and let it cool. then slice it and serve it, with the sauces of your choice.

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