Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Fall is the time of year for root vegetables and long-simmered stews. Sweet foods are traditional for Rosh Hashanah because they symbolize a sweet new year, and thus sweetness is incorporated even into non-dessert dishes. In that spirit, many Jews of Eastern European descent celebrate with a sweet stew called tzimmes. It's typically served as a side dish with brisket or some other meat. I had lots of sweet potatoes and carrots in my fridge so I e-mailed my dad for his recipe. But like much of the Jewish cooking in my family, there is no recipe, just some vague tips to structure culinary improvisation. My dad says:
Tzimmes is like chow mein or stew---almost anything goes. Try sauteing an onion and the adding sweet potatoes, carrots, prunes (if you want), orange juice, cinnamon, an apple or two (if you want), and a bit of brown sugar or maple syrup (if you want) and bake covered at 350 for an hour covered tightly OR cook on low heat on the stove for about the same time (stir occasionally so it doesn't burn. How's that, bubbelah?
I wanted to combine his suggestions with some other recipes, so I cracked open my trusty Jewish cooking bible, Mama Leah's Jewish Kitchen. Mama Leah is a close friend of my family and is truly the Queen of Blintzes. I used her pareve Tzimmes recipe as the basis for my project this evening.

Tzimmmes, before cooking:


Tzimmes, after cooking:

gluten-free tzimmes
The result was sweet and peppery, and tasted much like I remembered from my childhood. The only thing missing was the brisket!


10-12 large carrots, peeled and cut into large chunks
2 large russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 yams or sweet poatoes, peeled and cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks of celery, in 1" slices
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
18 large pitted prunes, cut in half
1/4 cup honey
1.5 apples, unpeeled and cubed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2.5 cups orange juice
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 hour. Stir frequently. Cook until carrots are soft but not mushy. Tzimmes should have the consistency of a thick stew with very little liquid left in the pot. Serve hot.


~M said...

How did I not see this before? Have you ever made your version in the crockpot?

ByTheBay said...

M: Ya know, I haven't done this in the crockpot yet. My honey is not so fond of tzimmes. One of these days I will change her mind with my amazing tzimmes. I think it'd be great in a crockpot, though I'd do it on the lowest possible heat and I wouldn't cook it as long as I cook a meat cholent or something like that.