Sunday, December 15, 2019 -
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New caterer brings flavors of Persia to Denver

Khoresh Fassenjan

A new kosher caterer has set up shop in Denver. It’s called Lymone Caterers, a portmanteau of the first names of its owners Lynn and Simone Shenassa.

Lymone cooks up traditional Ashkenazi Jewish foods as well as contemporary cuisine, but Chef Lynn Shenassa can add another twist to her offerings: Sephardic and Persian Jewish flavors.

Simone Shenassa grew up in Tehran, Iran, in a middle-class Jewish family. He came to the US, specifically Queens, NY, at age 16 to continue his education.

Simone and Lynn met while working at a New Jersey catering hall while they were both in college. They married less than two years later.

Already a talented cook, Lynn picked up on Iranian cuisine and treated family and friends to variety of such dishes at social gatherings. She was told by many she should become a caterer, but never felt confident enough to embark on such a challenging endeavor.

It was during the planning for their second son’s Bar Mitzvah that Lynn and Simone decided to cater the kiddush luncheon themselves. A congregant approached them on the spot to ask  if they would cater their son’s Bar Mitzvah.

They accepted, and Lymone Caterers (Kosher Catering by Lynn at the time) was born. Lynn combined Iranian flavors with traditional Ashkenazi dishes and created array of foods to satisfy most palates.

The Shenassas moved to the Denver metro area in September, 2018, to be closer to their four sons and two granddaughters.

They discovered that Rodef Shalom was looking for an in-house caterer and catered several kiddushes on a trial basis. In May, Lymone Caterers officially became the in-house caterer at Rodef, creating weekly kiddushes as well as food for special events.

Lymone’s services are available to the community, prepared in the Rodef Shalom kitchen under Rodef’s rabbi’s supervision, for house parties as small as 20 people, to larger events such as Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and weddings. They also offer shiva food and Shabbat and holiday dinners.

Lynn Shenassa shares two of her favorite Iranian Rosh Hashanah recipes.

Khoresh Fessenjan (Walnut Chicken Stew)

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. walnut halves, about 2 cups
  • 2 large yellow onion, sliced thin
  • 2 lb. skinless chicken drumsticks or thighs
  • 2 1/4 cups cold water
  • 1 cup pomegranate concentrate
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
  • Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place walnuts in food processor and process until it turns to a tan-colored paste.
  2. With the food processor running, add 1/4 cup cold water through the feed chute. Continue processing until the paste becomes uniformly beige in color.
  3. Fry the sliced onions with 3-4 tbsp. vegetable oil in a 6-quart stockpot until golden brown. Remove from the pot.
  4. Add chicken to the same stockpot and top it with the fried onions.
  5. Spoon the walnut paste evenly over the fried onions. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  6. Drizzle the pomegranate concentrate over all the ingredients and add 2 cups water.
  7. Bring to a boil over medium heat. The pomegranate concentrate tends to stick and burn fairly quickly so avoid high heat.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes.
  9. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, for an additional 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the sauce is thickened and the chicken is fork-tender and falls off the bone. Stir every 15 minutes or so to make sure the sauce does not stick to the pot. If at the end of this time period, the sauce has not thickened enough, leave the pot uncovered for about 10 minutes on low heat for a thicker sauce. If the sauce is too tart for your taste, add a few tablespoons of sugar.
  10. Transfer the Fessenjan to a serving dish and sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top as garnish.
  11. Serve over white Persian steamed rice.

Chelo (Persian steamed rice)

Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Basmati rice
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 8 cups water
  • 1-2 tsp. salt

Instructions

  1. Place dry rice in bowl. Rinse with warm water five times, and soak for two hours.
  2. Pour 8 cups water in a non-stick pot, add 1-2 tsp. salt and bring to a vigorous boil.
  3. Drain water from presoaked rice and add to boiling water. Stir, cover and bring to a boil again.
  4. Boil rice for 2-3 minutes. Rice should move freely and float to the top. Rice should be semi-cooked.
  5. Drain rice in a colander, rinse with water and taste. If the rice is salty, rinse again.
  6. In a non-stick pot, add oil and 1/2 cup water and stir. Pour 1/2 of this mixture into a cup to be used later.
  7. Spoon rice into the pot in a pyramid shape.
  8. Cook on medium heat for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour remaining water-oil mixture on rice. Place paper towel under lid of pot, to absorb moisture.
  10. Turn heat to low and cook 45-60 minutes. A crust (tahdiwill form at the bottom of the pot.


Larry Hankin

IJN Associate Editor | larry@ijn.com


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