Mina de Matzah (Noah Fecks photo)
ο 1 large bunch Swiss chard, washed and stemmed
ο 45 ml (3 tbsp) extra-virgin olive oil, schmaltz or duck fat
ο 2 large yellow onions, finely chopped
ο 4 garlic cloves, minced
ο kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
ο 680 g (1½ lb) ground beef, turkey or chicken
ο 960 ml (4 cups) quality marinara sauce, such as Rao’s
ο 9 sheets matzah
ο 1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 177 C (350 F).
Fill a large pot with 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water and place a steamer basket inside. Cover and bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Put the chard in the steamer basket, cover and steam for about 5 minutes, until the chard is wilted. Remove from the heat and transfer the chard to a bowl to cool. When the chard is cool enough to handle, squeeze out excess moisture and finely chop.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the onions and cook, stirring now and again, until the onions are translucent but have not yet taken on colour, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook, stirring, until the onions begin to caramelize and the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes. Season with a generous pinch of salt and some pepper.
Add the ground meat and cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks, until the meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and some pepper, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Spread a third of the marinara over the bottom of a 23 by 33-cm (9 by 13-inch) baking dish.
Fill a shallow dish (large enough to accommodate the matzah) with water. Dip 3 sheets of matzah in the water and let them soften, about 1 minute. (You don’t want to soften the sheets too much or they will fall apart.) Shake the excess water off the softened matzah sheets and arrange them over the marinara in the baking dish, breaking the matzah as necessary to fit. Top with half the ground meat mixture, followed by about half the chopped chard. Repeat with another third of the marinara, 3 soaked matzah sheets, then the remaining meat mixture, the remaining chard and the remaining marinara. Place the remaining 3 matzah sheets on top.
READ: PERFECT ENDINGS FOR PESACH
In a small bowl, beat the egg with 15 ml (1 tbsp) water until combined. Generously brush the top layer of matzah with the egg wash. Set the egg wash aside.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for about 45 minutes, or until cooked through. Remove the foil (set it aside – you may need it later to store the leftover mina de matzah). Brush the top of the mina de matzah with the remaining egg wash, return it to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the top is golden and glossy, about 15 minutes more. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting into pieces, as you would lasagna, and serve. Serves 6 to 8.
Excerpted from The 100 Most Jewish Foods edited by Alana Newhouse (Artisan Books). Copyright 2019. Photographs by Noah Fecks. Illustrations by Joanna Avillez. Used with permission from the publisher.