Today, it’s all about tzimmes. Lovely, colorful, sweet, yummy tzimmes.
So, just what the heck is a tzimmes?
Tzimmes is a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish stew made with sweet root vegetables– carrots, sweet potatoes, yams– and dried fruits like raisins or dried plums. The word tzimmes is also a Yiddish expression for “making a fuss” over something, probably because making tzimmes is a bit of a fussy dish… with all of those root veggies, there is lots of peeling, chopping, then more peeling and more chopping. The side dish is often served for Rosh Hashanah, where sweet foods are served to signify our hope for a sweet new year. Carrots are chopped into circles, which are reminiscent of coins, symbolizing prosperity. Sometimes tzimmes are served with meat, like chunks of flanken or short ribs, in a luscious sort of savory/sweet stew. Most often, they’re served as a side dish to accompany the holiday meal.
But here’s the most important question about tzimmes… how the heck do you pronounce it??
If your kitchen is anything like mine during the holidays, oven space is precious. With brisket and chicken in the oven, kugel warming, and challah rolls baking, I try to find ways to cook my side dishes on the stovetop. Hence the name of this recipe – Stovetop Tzimmes!
To make this dish pareve or vegetarian/vegan, use lightly salted water instead of chicken broth to cook the ingredients. I like using chicken broth because it adds a savory element to this naturally sweet dish, giving it a nice balance of flavors. This dish is gluten free and kosher for Passover (if you use KFP certified broth/ingredients). Enjoy!
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- 2 orange yams (1.5 lbs. total), peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 2 white sweet potatoes (1.5 lbs. total), peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 8 carrots (1 lb) peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
- 6 oz dried apples (1 1/2 cups)
- 6 oz dried cranberries (1 1/4 cups)
- 2 cups orange juice
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth or salted water
- 12 oz pitted prunes (3 cups)
- Place cut yams, sweet potatoes, and carrots on the bottom of a large heavy pot.
- Pour dried apples and cranberries on top.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together orange juice, honey, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and black pepper. Pour mixture over the fruits and vegetables in the pot.
- Add chicken broth or salted water to the pot, covering the vegetables halfway. Heat pot over medium high till it begins to simmer. Stir the ingredients once gently.
- Reduce heat to a gentle but constant simmer. Cover the pot.
- After 45 minutes, open the pot and gently stir again. Place pitted prunes on top of the simmering ingredients.
- Cover pot. Continue to cook on lowest heat for another 15 minutes, until potato pieces are tender and prunes have warmed and softened. Don't cook too long, or the prunes will dissolve-- it will make a nice sauce for the tzimmes, but it won't look so pretty on the table.
- Serve warm as a side dish to a festive holiday meal.