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News 3 min read

Making It Chrain

By JCC Milwaukee April 10, 2019

JCC President & Chief Executive Officer, Mark Shapiro, shares his family recipe for horseradish sauce, which in Yiddish is called chrain.

Making the chrain each year is a tradition that was passed down by Mark’s Papa Ben, and in the spirit of l’dor vador, from generation to generation, Mark continues to make it every year with his wife Sharon and daughters, Carli & Sophie. When he was a child, his grandfather gave the grandkids a chopping tool to use called a chaker that has been in Mark’s family for generations. Nowadays, he prefers to use a food processor, which is what he used in the JCC warming kitchen with the staff.

On Passover, horseradish can act as the maror — the bitter herb on the seder plate, which is a symbol of the bitterness the Israelites felt when they were slaves in Egypt. Chrain is often served with gefilte fish at the seder meal.

Traditionally, the chrain is either plain (white) or made with beets (red), but in today’s foodie culture, Mark and his family enjoy experimenting with different fruit flavors like date, apricot, and mango.

Mark shares his recipe below but notes that it is really more of a trial and error process with a little bit of this and a little bit of that. No measuring cups allowed!

Mark’s Horseradish Sauce – Chrain


Optional add-ins – pick one at a time:

To make:

Peel the horseradish root with a vegetable peeler until all brown spots are removed, then cut it into manageable chunks. Put the chunks in the food processor using the grating blade and grate them into nice shreds.

To make the plain chrain, switch to the chopping blade and for every 1 cup of grated horseradish you put in the food processor, add in the following: approx.. 4 T white vinegar, approx.. 1t. sugar, and approx.. 1t. salt. For flavors, chop up the added ingredient first before building the chrain on top of it.

Add warm water as needed to get the consistency you desire.

Warnings from Mark:

Enjoy and Chag Pesach Sameach!