I’m completely out of my element. I’m a card-carrying Christian endeavoring to cook a kosher Jewish meal that’s acceptable for Passover. I’ve catered several mitzvahs and kosher buffets at the Beth Israel Synagogue over the years and Jewish friends have asked me to write a column with kosher recipes. I even sat down with a rabbi to discuss the laws and reasons why Jewish people aren’t allowed to eat certain foods. I still don’t feel qualified to write about kosher cooking, but I’m going to give it my best shot.

My renewed interest in kosher dining began when I started watching The Chosen television show. I’m fascinated with the Jewish foods, customs, and laws – especially for Jewish holidays. It also turns out that many kosher foods aren’t kosher for Passover. According to the book of Exodus (in the Bible), when the Jews escaped from Egypt, they had to leave in such haste that they didn’t have time for their bread dough to rise, so they had to make unleavened bread – a matzah. As a commemoration, Jewish people are not allowed to eat any leavened grains during Passover.

Writing a column about Jewish food at their most reverent holy time turned out to be a larger challenge than I had anticipated. So, I contacted my Jewish friend, Nora Kresch. Nora tried to coax me into catering the Passover Seder at Beth Israel Synagogue several years ago. The meal features symbolic foods, many that I had never tasted. Nora was willing to talk me through all the food rules, but I still didn’t feel equipped to cater it. So many rules! The more that I learn, the more respect I have for Jewish laws and traditions. The rules are a huge part of their culture and religion.

Nora sent me a bunch of recipes. I wanted to share easy to prepare recipes with accessible ingredients for folks who had never experienced kosher cooking, especially for Passover. Certain kosher ingredients aren’t readily available in the local supermarkets. While I still have a stack of recipes that I hope to try, these three were the ones that I chose for my Passover dinner. I had never cooked a beef brisket. It was easy and delicious! Low and slow was definitely the way to go. The beef is fork-tender when it’s straight out of the oven. Thin slices are easier to cut when the meat is cold. The cooking juices can be reduced to make a sauce. Flour or cornstarch may be added to make a gravy – but NOT during Passover. Remember, no wheat, rye, barley, spelt or oats! I also baked my first kugel. I love sweet noodle kugels – they’re so good. Again, no wheat, rye, barley, spelt or oats – so, this recipe features potatoes with a pre-shredded shortcut. Israeli Salad is a fresh and light chopped salad that has been described as the “most well-known dish of Israel.” (Wikipedia) It’s a great complement to any meal, kosher or not. I fact-checked all of the ingredients that were used in this week’s recipes and really hope that I did my version of kosher for Passover recipes justice. Jewish readers, I’d really appreciate your feedback.

Happy Passover! Shalom!



Baked Beef Brisket

Slow cooked brisket is one of the most traditional Jewish entrees for Passover, Rosh Hashana, Hannukah and weekly Shabbats. A brisket has two parts, the point cut and the flat cut. I used a flat cut for this recipe. If you don’t want to use a cooking bag, a crockpot will work just as well. Adjust the cooking time to allow the meat to become completely tender. (For a detailed demonstration, please visit the Lowcountry Weekly website or @chefdebbicovington on YouTube to watch this short cooking video.)

1 (4-pound) beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat

Salt and pepper, to taste

Vegetable oil

1 medium onion, thinly sliced

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce

½ cup ketchup

½ cup packed brown sugar (OK-P)*

1 cup beef broth

1 large oven cooking bag

Sauteed mushrooms, optional

Fresh Italian parsley, optional

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Add vegetable oil to a hot skillet and brown the brisket on both sides. Remove brisket from skillet and add sliced onions; cook for a couple of minutes, until onions begin to soften. Place oven cooking bag on a baking sheet. (Do NOT shake inside of cooking bag with flour!) Add browned brisket to the bag. Top the brisket with cooked onions. Add tomato sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and beef broth. Seal bag tightly with twist tie and tuck the excess bag under the brisket. Bake in preheated oven for 6 hours or until meat is fork tender. Let meat rest in the cooking bag for 30 minutes. To serve, remove brisket and onions from the cooking bag and slice or shred meat with two forks. Or, refrigerate the brisket and onions in the cooking bag overnight. Remove brisket from bag and slice on the diagonal. The meat will slice easier when it is cold. Reheat brisket in some of the cooking liquid in a baking dish. Serve with sauteed mushrooms and garnish with fresh Italian parsley. Serves 6 to 8. *Domino brown sugar and Publix brown sugar marked with an OK-P are acceptable for Passover. (Source: AKC Kosher Certification)


Hash Brown Potato Kugel

A kugel is baked casserole, most commonly made from lokshen (Jewish egg noodles) or potatoes. In keeping with the Passover tradition of no wheat, rye, barley, spelt or oats, my recipe features a shortcut of frozen hash brown potatoes. (I wanted to add a bit of garlic powder to this recipe before discovering that certain ground spices are not acceptable for Passover. When in doubt, Google it.)

1 (30-ounce) bag frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, thawed in refrigerator

1 large onion, chopped (about 2 cups)

¼ cup chopped fresh chives

5 large eggs

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1½ teaspoons kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh chives, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place hash browns, onion, chives, eggs, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine; transfer to prepared baking dish. Bake, uncovered, 60 minutes until golden brown. Garnish with chopped chives before serving. Serves 8 to10.


Israeli Salad

Israeli Salad is so easy to make and so full of flavor!

1 English cucumber, seeded and diced

1½ cups diced grape tomatoes

1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced

½ medium red onion, diced

½ cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped

1/8 cup fresh lemon juice

3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Place vegetables in a bowl. Add lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Toss to combine. Serves 6 to 8.


The writer owns Catering by Debbi Covington and is the author of three cookbooks, Celebrate Beaufort, Celebrate Everything! and Dining Under the Carolina Moon. For more great recipes and to view her cooking demonstrations, visit and subscribe to Debbi’s YouTube channel. Debbi’s website address is www.cateringbydebbicovington.com. She may be reached at 843-525-0350 or by email at dbc@cateringbydebbicovington.com.