Roasted Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes
Tzimmes is an Eastern European stew of carrots and/or sweet potatoes and prunes traditionally cooked with beef flanken, often sweetened with brown or white sugar and sometimes thickened with flour. In Yiddish, the word tzimmes means “a big fuss,” probably because of all the work required to make the old-style dish. This version couldn’t be easier: Skip the meat, sugar and flour and instead roast carrots, sweet potatoes and dried Santa Rosa–type plums (or common dried prunes) in fresh orange juice until they are tender, browned, glazed with citrus and deliciously infused with orange. Tzimmes is a great companion to brisket or chicken and is also a good accompaniment to farro or quinoa for a pareve/vegan main course. It can easily be made a day ahead and reheated and is often served in the fall for Rosh Hashanah and in the spring for Passover. It is also a lovely addition to any festive meal during these times of the year. Both seasons yield sweet carrots, especially in the spring. In the fall, use new-season white- or orange-fleshed sweet potatoes.
- 6–8 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 2 pounds carrots
- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- 1 pound shallots (about 8 large)
- ½–¾ pound dried plums or pitted prunes (vary the amount depending on how sweet and fruity you want the dish)
- 3–4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Using a swivel-blade vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 2 of the oranges and the lemon. Be sure to press down only hard enough to capture the colored part of the skin, not the bitter white pith. Juice enough oranges to yield 2½ cups juice. Reserve the lemon for another use.
- Peel the carrots and cut them crosswise into 2-inch chunks or lengthwise into 2-inch chunks (if carrots are very fat, first halve them lengthwise). Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into large bite-size chunks. Peel and quarter the shallots lengthwise. Use kitchen scissors to snip the dried fruits in half.
- Use a roasting pan large enough to hold all the vegetables in more or less a single layer. Place carrots, sweet potatoes, shallots, dried fruit and lemon and orange zests in the pan. Toss with enough olive oil to coat evenly, season with salt and pepper and pour the juice over all.
- Roast the vegetables, turning them once or twice during cooking, until they are tender and are browned in places and most of the juice is absorbed, about 1¼ hours. If you want a saucier finished dish, add another ½ to 1 cup juice during the last 20 minutes of cooking. The juice should thicken slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- Reprinted with permission from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Tradition © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photo credit: Staci Valentine.