Tzimmes, the traditional stew of carrots and honey, has its origins in medieval Germany, when fruited meat stews were commonplace. There are dozens of variations according to family history and origin, but you might find sweet potato, apricots, prunes, raisins, cinnamon, orange juice, nutmeg, maple syrup or stewed meat incorporated into recipes.
With the overriding taste of tzimmes being ‘sweet’ it’s a natural dish to serve at Rosh Hashanah when we look forward to a sweet new year.
In this email we bring you 3 ideas for livening up your tzimmes; a stove top version, one with chicken, and finally a tzimmes cake.
B’tayavon and L’Shana Tova from all at Gefiltefest.
The Gefilteria’s Crispy Chicken and Tzimmes
This sweet and savoury chicken tzimmes is an easy dish with a built-in side. The moist prunes and carrots pair well with the crisp chicken, and the juices of the chicken enhance the flavors of the vegetables and fruit. It’s quite filling when paired with a grain like barley or kasha (buckwheat), and it’s colourful and complex enough to serve at a Yom Tov meal.
3 tablespoons grated peeled fresh ginger
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon packed lemon zest
1kg chicken pieces, bone-in with skin
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons 450g carrots, cut into ½-inch rounds (about 3 cups)
225g pitted prunes, coarsely chopped (about 1½ cups)
Chopped fresh parsley or corainder, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 200C (400F). In a small bowl, mix together the ginger, honey, 1 tablespoon of the oil, the salt, red pepper flakes, and lemon zest to make a glaze. Set aside.
In a heavy-bottomed oven-safe skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Place the chicken in the pan, skin-side down, and sear the pieces for about 5 to 7 minutes until brown. Remove chicken pieces from pan and place in a bowl. Generously coat with the glaze on all sides, and set the bowl aside.
Add the onion to the pan and cook until it softens and becomes aromatic, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and prunes and cook, stirring, for about 10 minutes, until the carrots are just beginning to soften, adding a pinch or two more salt and red pepper flakes. Add ½ cup water to the skillet, scraping up the bits of carrot, onion, and prune that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken, skin side up, on top of the carrots, prunes, and onions, drizzling any glaze that has collected at the bottom of the bowl over the chicken.
Place the skillet in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through, its skin is crispy and browned, and the sauce looks thick and bubbly.
Serve the chicken with tsimmes and a side of cooked rice, kasha (buckwheat), or barley. Spoon over any pan juices that have collected at the bottom of the pan and garnish with parsley and/or coriander.
Excerpted from the book THE GEFILTE MANIFESTO by Jeffrey Yoskowitz & Liz Alpern. Copyright © 2016 by Gefilte Manifesto LLC. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. All rights reserved. Photography by Lauren Volo. To pre-order click here
Amy Kritzer’s Tzimmes Cake
When remixing this classic, Amy says she decided to embrace the qualities of American tzimmes rather than fight them, and turn the stew into a cake. The carrots and sweet potatoes add incredible moisture, chunks of booze-soaked raisins and walnuts add texture, and lots of cinnamon and a hint of ginger add flavour.
For the cake:
Butter or oil to grease the pan
½ cup raisins
½ cup Amaretto or your favorite liquor
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. salt
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup sour cream (can use dairy free)
¼ cup vegetable oil
½ cup orange juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ cup cooked sweet potato (from one small sweet potato)
2 eggs, room temperature, whisked
1 cup shredded carrots (about 2 carrots)
½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped, plus more for garnish
For the glaze:
½ block (115 g / 4 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature (can use dairy free)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
2-3 tbs. milk (can use dairy free)
- Preheat oven to 175 c / 350 F. Lightly grease a 10 or 12-cup Bundt pan with butter or oil and set aside.
- Combine raisins with Amaretto. Let marinate for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
- In a large bowl, whisk together brown sugar, granulated sugar, sour cream, oil, orange juice, and vanilla. Then mix in sweet potato. Then add in eggs one at a time. Mix until uniform and most of the lumps are out. Then stir in carrots, nuts and the amaretto-soaked raisins. Gradually add in flour mixture, stirring until just combined.
- Pour batter into the Bundt pan and bake for about 60 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes in the pan, and then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
- To make glaze, mix together cream cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon using a wooden spoon or electric mixer. Add in milk until you get a runny but thick glaze. Drizzle all over cooled cake and garnish with more nuts.
Tori Avey’s Stove Top Tzimmes
700g of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
700g of sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-2 inch pieces
8 carrots (450g) peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
175g dried apples
175g dried cranberries
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 stock or salted water
350 g pitted prunes
Total Cooking Time: 1 Hour
Servings: 8-10 side portions
Meat or Parev (use salted water instead of stock to make parev)
- 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 and 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 Yom Tov meal.