How star chef Pati Jinich celebrates Rosh Hashanah with Mexican flavor

The Emmy-nominated host of "Pati's Mexican Table" shares two unique recipes for the holiday

By Ashlie D. Stevens

Food Editor

Published September 14, 2023 2:59PM (EDT)

Pati Jinich | Matzah Ball Soup (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/Pati Jinich)
Pati Jinich | Matzah Ball Soup (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/Pati Jinich)

Emmy-nominated chef and cookbook author Pati Jinich was born to a Jewish family in Mexico City where, every weekend, she would eat Shabbat dinner with her paternal grandparents who had fled Poland in the early 1900s. 

As she's described it, there was always an interesting melding of traditional dishes and local flavors, from chicken served in a tomatillo, chipotle and brown sugar sauce to a guacamole that her grandmother prepared with chopped hard-boiled eggs, topped with crisp, fatty gribenes (little golden-brown sizzles of chicken skin sometimes jokingly referred to as "Jewish bacon"). 

Now, her culinary inspirations are colliding again this week as the new season of her beloved PBS show "Pati's Mexican Table" releases on September 15, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, which Jinich observes. 

To give Salon Food readers a peek into how she celebrates, Jinich has shared two recipes that she'll be serving this year: a Mushroom-Jalapeno Matzo Ball Soup and Brisket in Pasilla Chile and Tomatillo Sauce. And for other ideas on how to update traditional Rosh Hashanah recipes, read Salon Food's interview with "Top Chef" alum CJ Jacobson on how he's approaching his holiday menu at his restaurant Aba. 

Mushroom-Jalapeño Matzo Ball Soup (Sopa de Bolas de Matzo con Hongos y Jalapeño)
6-8 servings
Prep Time
1 hours 10 minutes
Cook Time
45 minutes


1 cup matzo ball mix

2 tablespoons parsley finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt or to taste

4 large eggs

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon sparkling water optional, to make the matzo balls fluffy

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 cup white onion finely chopped

1 garlic clove finely chopped

2 jalapeño chiles finely chopped, seeded optional, more or less to taste

1/2 pound white mushrooms wiped clean with cloth, sliced

3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt or to taste

8-10 cups chicken broth




  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the matzo ball mix, parsley, nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon of salt. In another small bowl, lightly beat the eggs with 1/3 cup of vegetable oil. Fold in the beaten eggs to the matzo ball mixture with a spatula. Add the sparkling water if you want the matzo balls fluffy, and mix well until well combine. Cover the mix and refrigerate for at least half an hour.

  2. Bring about 12 cups of salted water to a rolling boil in a large soup pot. Bring heat down to medium and keep at a steady simmer. With wet hands, make about 1 inch balls out of the matzo ball mix and gently drop them into the water. Cover and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, heat a couple of tablespoons of oil over medium heat in a large cooking pot. Add the onion, garlic and chiles and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes until they have softened. Incorporate the sliced mushrooms. sprinkle the salt, stir and cover with a lid. Steam the mushrooms for about 6 to 8 minutes.

  4. Take off the lid and pour the chicken broth over the mushroom base. Once it is simmering, incorporate the already cooked matzo balls, without their cooking liquid, and serve.



Caramelized Pasilla Brisket (Falda Caramelizada con Chiles Pasilla
6 servings
Prep Time
30 minutes
Cook Time
hours 30 minutes


2 ounces (about 5 to 6) dried pasilla chiles; stemmed and seeded

3 pounds beef brisket; trimmed

2 teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt; divided

Freshly ground black pepper; to taste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 1/2 pounds tomatillos; husked, rinsed, quartered

1 large white onion; cut into chunks

10 garlic cloves; peeled

4 cups chicken broth

4 ounces (or 1/2 cup) grated piloncillo or brown sugar

1 1/2 pounds baby potatoes; halved

1 1/2 pounds carrots; peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces

Greens of your choice for salad

Freshly squeezed lime juice and olive oil; to dress the salad




  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350°F.

  2. Heat up a comal or skillet over medium heat, then toast the pasilla chiles for about 1 to 2 minutes, flipping with tongs as they toast. Remove from heat and place in a bowl.

  3. Season the meat with 1 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Heat oil in a large casserole or roasting pan set over high heat. Brown the meat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Add the toasted pasilla chiles, tomatillos, onion, garlic, chicken broth, piloncillo, the remaining teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Make sure chiles are covered with the broth.

  4. Cover and seal tight with a lid or aluminum foil. Place in the oven and braise for 3 to 3-and-a-half hours, or until meat is tender. Remove from the oven. Remove the meat and place on a chopping board.

  5. In a pot with salted boiling water, cook the potatoes and the carrots for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender. Drain and reserve.

  6. Pour all the remaining contents of the roasting pan into the jar of a blender and puree until completely smooth. Pour the sauce back into roasting pan.

  7. Slice the meat against the grain into about 1/2 to 3/4-inch slices and return it to the roasting pan. Add the potatoes and carrots, cover everything with the sauce. Cover the dish and return to oven for another 30 minutes. Remove the lid or aluminum foil, return to the oven and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes.

  8. Toss the greens of your choice with lime juice and olive oil to taste. Serve the brisket with the side salad.

  9. If there is any meat left over, you can cool, store and refrigerate it in a closed contained and then reheat, covered over a low simmer.



By Ashlie D. Stevens

Ashlie D. Stevens is Salon's food editor. She is also an award-winning radio producer, editor and features writer — with a special emphasis on food, culture and subculture. Her writing has appeared in and on The Atlantic, National Geographic’s “The Plate,” Eater, VICE, Slate, Salon, The Bitter Southerner and Chicago Magazine, while her audio work has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered and Here & Now, as well as APM’s Marketplace. She is based in Chicago.

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