Recipe; Gefilte Quenelles with Braised Leeks and Lemon Zest

Husband and wife team Jeff and Jodie Morgan, of Covenant Wines, share some of their traditional family recipes – and the wines to go with them!

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Jeff’s wine pairing: “My take on gefilte fish was inspired by my grandmother’s gefilte fish but it has taken on an international flavor here with both French and Asian influences.

We use salmon to make them which is rich, so I find a Chardonnay or a Riesling works well. Both have a richness and a fruitiness and good acidity.

It’s not as clear cut as the other two dishes as you don't want too-high acidity but you do want a fresh wine but with enough body to pair well with a meaty fish like salmon.” 

Meet Jeff and Jodie, learn how to shake your own cocktails and hear JC food editor, Victoria Prever, talk about how to pair wine with food at the Kosher Food and Wine Event 2017 on 1st February. More information at

Place the fish, half the chopped garlic, ginger, the onion, eggs, lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor. In pulse mode, chop fine (but do not purée).

Transfer the fish mixture to a large non-reactive bowl. Stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. (If the fish is not cold enough, it will not hold its shape when you mold it into balls. You can speed up the cooling process by putting the fish in the freezer. But be careful not to let it freeze.)

While the fish is chilling, in a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion slices and remaining chopped garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and stir to coat with the oil. Add the fennel and stir to coat as well. Continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, until the fennel is soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Stir in the thyme, coriander, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Add the wine, water, and bay leaf. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the broth cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve and divide among 2 large pots or large, deep frying pans. Reserve the vegetables from the broth in a covered bowl and refrigerate.

Divide the chilled fish mixture into 10 to 12 balls and lay them out on a flat surface covered with baking parchment. (If necessary, wet your hands occasionally with cold water to prevent sticking.) Bring the broth in the pots to a boil over high heat. Use a large spoon to gently lay the quenelles into the broth, dividing them among the two pots so that they have room to cook without touching each other. Lower the heat to medium and, if the quenelles are not completely submerged, spoon a little broth over the tops. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat, uncover the pots and let the quenelles cool slightly in the broth for another 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the fish and the broth together to a large covered container and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days.

A few hours before serving the fish, prepare the leeks. Fill a large, deep-sided frying pan with about 1½ cm water and bring to a boil. Lay the leeks in the pan, cover, and cook tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the liquid and cool for 10 or 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To serve: bring all vegetables up to room temperature or serve straight from the refrigerator. Slice each leek lengthwise in half. On individual plates, lay 2 leek halves in an “A”- or “teepee” shape - see picture. Set 1 quenelle between the leeks for a starter and 2 for a main course. Add a spoonful or two of the reserved broth vegetables around the sides of the fish. Garnish with additional juice from the fish broth, the lemon zest, and pepper to taste.

Recipe adapted from THE COVENANT KITCHEN by Jeff and Jodie Morgan. Copyright © 2015 by Random House. Excerpted by permission of Schocken Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.


900g salmon fillets, skin removed, cut into 2½ to 5cm cubes

4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

40g chopped onion, plus 1 onion, sliced

2 eggs

2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tsp salt

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 carrots, cut into ½ cm-thick rounds

1 fennel bulb, sliced into ½ cm-thick crescents

1 tsp dried thyme

½ tsp coriander seeds

750 ml dry white wine

1.4l water

1 bay leaf

6 – 12 leeks (white part only) well washed (Allow 1 leek per individual portion)

2 tbsp lemon zest, finely chopped

Freshly ground pepper

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