Chef’s Corner: Lamb Served at the Seder? Oy vey!

I always wondered why I never saw a lamb dish at the seder table. A roasted lamb shank on the seder plate doesn’t qualify. I recently discovered that some Jews (depending on their level of observance) will not eat roasted poultry or meat – especially lamb – during the seder.

It is appropriate to serve lamb for Passover, but rules govern the preparation and are subject to various interpretations.

The ancient custom of sacrificing lambs on the eve of Passover and then eating the meat to begin the festival ended with the destruction of the Second Temple. As a sign of respect for the memory of the temple sacrifices, the eating of a whole roasted lamb on Passover is forbidden by the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law).

Sephardic Jews or those who accept a less strict interpretation of the law will eat lamb, but not if it is roasted. Today, the term “roasted” is usually understood to mean cooked in an oven without liquid. If you will be cooking poultry, beef or lamb for your seder, make sure it is cooked in a pan with liquid other than its own juices. On the days following the seder, roasting is permitted.

I hope this clarifies any questions and clears the way for a beautiful seder with your family and friends. Wishing you a kosher and joyous Passover!

Moroccan Kofta with Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw


1pound ground lamb
1pound ground beef
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons chopped mint
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix until well combined. Form small meatballs and place of parchment paper. Bake 30 minutes, turning over once during cooking time.

Cabbage slaw:
In a large bowl combine all the fresh ingredients for the cabbage slaw.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Pour over the fresh ingredients and toss to coat. Season to taste.

Serve meatballs with a spoonful of the cabbage slaw.

Photo by Matthew Strauss

Lucia Schnitzer and her husband, Ken, own Pomelo (a full-service restaurant), Luci’s at The Orchard and Splurge (a candy and ice cream shop), all at The Orchard Phx, 7100 N 12th Street, Phoenix. They also own Luci’s Healthy Marketplace, 1590 E Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, which they opened in 2009 in Lucia’s honor after her successful battle with breast cancer.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

'Chef’s Corner: Lamb Served at the Seder? Oy vey!' has no comments

Be the first to comment this post!

Would you like to share your thoughts?

Your email address will not be published.

For advertising information, please contact