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December 14, 2011

Traditional Hanukkah meal good all year

I knew Mrs. Katz years ago, when I was a nurse in the convalescent home she owned and operated in Framingham. It was a lovely home — fairly small with close to 60 residents and a reputation of excellent medical care.

She kept a kosher kitchen, and I came to know her and the main cook very well. I learned so much from them about their traditions and foods. I would always ask for recipes, and still have a few.

I developed a taste for matzo and almond sugar cookies while there, and still eat both very often.

I spent several Hanukkahs with them and their families. The table would be festive and set with Hanukkah place mats and an heirloom tablecloth. After lighting the menorah, we would sit down to a cozy dinner which would often be a lamb dish with dried apricots or roast chicken. There would always be latkes (crispy potato pancakes), and applesauce.

I haven't thought of Mrs. Katz for many years, until I came across this recipe. She would be honored that I am sharing it with you.

Whatever your heritage, this is a delicious meal anytime, and is easy to prepare.

Mrs. Katz's Simple Roast Chicken

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 (4-5 pound) roasting chicken

1/2 teaspoon of each: salt, pepper, paprika

1 medium onion, quartered

1 celery stalk, cut into 3 large pieces

1 medium carrot, cut into 3 large pieces

1 garlic clove and 1 bay leaf

Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken under cold water; pat dry. Trim any fat from chicken.

Combine salt, pepper, and paprika. Sprinkle mixture over breast, drumsticks, and into body cavity. Place onion, celery, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf in body cavity. Tie end of legs together with twine. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken.

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