Tunisian Passover Stew Recipe

If ever a dish were a celebration of spring, this one is. This stew offers a fabulous assortment of vegetables enhanced with the richness of meat juices and bits of cooked meat. It’s like a giant minestrone. Crumbled matzah is added at the end to absorb the fragrant juices.


2 pounds fresh fava beans, shelled
1 or 2 Cardoons, trimmed of strings and cut into 1-inch pieces and parboiled in lemon water for 5 minutes
8 carrots, diced
I small Savoy cabbage, cored and cut into 1¼ inch pieces
4 turnips, diced
½ head young celery with leaves, diced
1 celery root, peeled and diced
1 bulb fennel, with leaves, diced
2 Tablespoons ground dried unsprayed role petals (optional)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
8 cloves garlic, minced
3 white onions, diced
1 teaspoon salt
8 teaspoons chopped fresh cilantro
1½ cups chopped fresh dill
1½ cups chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon harissa
1 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 ½ pounds of beef brisket
2 pounds lamb shoulder, boned and cubed
4 fresh artichoke hearts, diced
2 pounds spinach, stemmed and cut into 1¼ inch pieces
1/3 cup chopped mint
4 matzah squares

Cook the fava beans in boiling water for 2 minutes; drain.
Pinch the beans from their skin. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cardoons, carrots, cabbage, turnips, celery, celery root, and fennel.
Add the ground rose petals, if using, the ground coriander, pepper, half the minced garlic, the onions, salt, and 3 tablespoons of the chopped fresh cilantro. Add half of the dill and parsley. Mix well.
In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat and stir in the harissa, the remaining garlic, and the turmeric.
Add the meats and sauté for 5 minutes to coat with oil and spices.
Add the mixed vegetables.
Add water to cover and simmer I hour.
Add the artichoke hearts, spinach or chard, and fava beans.
Cover and cook for I hour.
Add the mint and the rest of the dill, fresh coriander, and parsley.
Cook 15 minutes longer.
Break the matzah into quarters and place on top of the vegetables. Serve hot or warm.
Note. Dried rose petals can be found in some spice and herb shops. They are also packaged as a tea. If you can’t find them, you may leave them out.

Adapted from Saffron Shores, Jewish Cooking of the Southern Mediterranean by Joyce Goldstein

About Rabbi Michael Sternfield

Michael Sternfield has been a Reform rabbi for 40 years, most recently serving at Chicago Sinai Congregation from 1995 until 2013. He served for 20 years as spiritual leader of Congregation Beth Israel in San Diego, and briefly as the leader of the Durban, South Africa Progressive Jewish Congregation during South Africa’s historic transition to multi-racial democracy. He is now based in Los Angeles, California.