Baked Chicken With Silan
Date honey, the basis for this baked chicken recipe, is as this as molasses but more fluid than bee honey. Ronnie Fein/JW
This biblically accurate date honey chicken dish is easily schlepped from kitchen to sukkah.
When the High Holiday season approaches I remember my children, like two human shofars, blasting out a song about apples and honey. I can still picture how gleeful they would look, even now when they are grown women with children of their own, who have taken over the pleasure of chanting, “tapuchim u’d’vash l’Rosh HaShanah.”
The image of an apple dipped in golden, viscous bee honey is the archetypal High Holiday image from bubbe to baby, but according to scholars, the sweet stuff the Bible is talking about, in all but two instances, means date honey.
Date honey is the honey of “the land of milk and honey” [Exodus 3:8]. Date honey is among the seven species of the holy land mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8.
What a fortunate find for my kitchen. This syrup, prepared from mashed dates, is beyond flavorful and is also incredibly useful after Rosh HaShanah.
Date honey is as thick as molasses but more fluid than bee honey. It’s darker than maple syrup, about the color of cola. It’s sweet but not cloying, tasting like liquid dried fruit. The rich, velvety texture feels luxurious on your tongue. There are several kosher brands too, and although I couldn’t find any at my local supermarket, it’s easy to order date syrup on line: Check Date Lady, Emek Hefer Natural Silan Date Honey or Lin’s Farm Natural Date Honey.
I’ve used up two bottles of the stuff in the last two weeks. I’ve poured it over yogurt for breakfast and served it instead of maple syrup for French toast and matzah brei. It goes great with tahini for a sandwich on multigrain bread or slathered it on carrots (with coconut oil) for roasting. I made my Aunt Belle’s famous Rosh HaShanah Honey Cake using it instead of bee honey. And I used it to create a flavorful basting sauce for chicken for a most perfect dish to serve during Sukkot. It’s easily made ahead and transported to your sukkah.
Ronnie Fein is a cookbook author, food writer and cooking teacher in Stamford, Conn. Her newest cookbook, “The Modern Kosher Kitchen, will be published next month. Visit her food blog, Kitchen Vignettes, at www.ronniefein.com.