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Sort of Sephardic Sweet Potatoes and Squash

No recipe image available."Sephardic Jews from Turkey, Greece, Morocco, and other countries of the Mediterranean region say seven special blessings over seven different symbolic foods at their Rosh Hashanah dinner. Five of these blessings are over vegetables — apples (candied or dipped in sugar or honey), leeks, beet greens or spinach, dates, and zucchini or squash. These blessings symbolize their hopes for the New Year. Many of these Jews trace their ancestors back to Spain, which is called Sepharad in the Bible. Over the centuries, the Sephardic Jews took advantage of the abundance of vegetables available in the Mediterranean countries, often throughout the year. Among these vegetables are sweet potatoes and squash, great favorites of my family. The special blessing you can say over your sweet potatoes and squash at the beginning of your Rosh Hashanah dinner goes like this:

Yehi ratzon mi-le-faneha Adonai Eloheinu ve-lo-hei avoteinu she-tik-rah ro-a gezar dinenu ve-yi-karehu lefa-neha za-hee-yo-teinu. (May it be thy will, Lord our God and God of our fathers, that you should tear up any evil decree and let only our merits be read before You.)" - Joan Nathan.

Recipe Ingredients:

1 pound acorn or butternut squash
1 pound sweet potatoes or yams
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Vegetable peeler
Sharp paring knife
Wooden spoon
Frying pan
Mixing bowl
Aluminum foil
Oblong casserole dish (about 9x13x2-inches)

Cooking Directions:

  1. Adult: Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Peel the squash.
  2. Child: Peel the sweet potatoes or yams. Then carefully cut both the sweet potatoes and squash into 1-inch cubes. Place most of the oil in the casserole. Add the sweet potatoes and bake, covered with aluminum foil, about 20 minutes.
  3. Adult: Take out the hot dish from the oven and carefully remove the foil.
  4. Child: Add the squash and the cranberries or cherries. Sprinkle the sugar and cinnamon on top and dribble with the remaining oil.
  5. Adult: Bake uncovered at 375°F (90°C) for 30 to 35 minutes, or until well browned. Serve over roast chicken or pot roast.

Makes 6 servings.

Note: If your family likes onions, add one, sautéed in the oil until soft, to the sweet potatoes before baking.

Recipe from: The Children's Jewish Holiday Kitchen by Joan Nathan.