Tzimmes is a classic Jewish dish made with roasted vegetables and dried fruit. Make this delicious meal for the holidays!
If you’re a regular reader here at A Family Feast, then you know that Jack and I have a soft spot in our hearts for family recipes that are passed down through generations. At any time of the year, families establish traditions through the foods that they prepare for their special holiday meals.
Tzimmes is one of those recipes. It’s a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish stew made with sweet roasted vegetables and dried fruit. It is often served during the Jewish holidays – for Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) when sweet foods are served to symbolize hope for the New Year. But many Jewish families serve it at Passover, Hanukkah, or for any special family meal.
Tzimmes is pronounced “tsi-miss” and it’s a Yiddish expression that means “making a fuss.” With a variety of roasted root vegetables in this dish including beets, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and leeks – there is a fair amount of peeling and chopping involved. And – to prevent the entire dish from turning a bright pink from the red beets, we roasted those separately from the other vegetables.
A sweet sauce of dried fruit, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and zest and seasonings also cooks on the stove – then that is poured over the vegetables before a final roasting in the oven.
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Avoid moving the vegetables around too much after they are boiled. They will be delicate and will break apart if stirred too much.
1 pound fresh red beets, peeled and cut into 1” cubes
1 pound fresh carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into large thick slices
1 pound fresh parsnips, peeled and cut on the bias into large thick slices
1 ½ pounds fresh sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
6 tablespoons butter, divided
1½ cups leeks, white only, cleaned of sand and cut into one-inch pieces (about 2 medium leeks)
Zest from one large navel oranges
Juice from two large navel oranges (1 cup)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup brown sugar
1 cup pitted prunes, left whole
10 dates, pitted and split in half
¼ cup dried currants
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to salt water
In a medium pot, bring salted water to a boil and add beets and lower to a gentle boil. Cook for 15 minutes, drain and set aside. Red beets are boiled separately so other vegetables don’t turn red.
While beets are cooking, place a large pot of salted water on to boil and add carrots and cook five minutes. Add parsnips and sweet potato and cook for five additional minutes at a low boil. Drain and pour vegetables back into the same pot.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Using the same small pot used to cook the beets, add 4 tablespoons of butter and over medium heat add leeks and cook for two minutes. Then add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter, zest, juice, cinnamon, brown sugar, prunes, dates and currants. Stir and cook until the mixture thickens some, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour leek and fruit mixture over the vegetables in the large pot and gently toss to coat. Add beets and gently combine.
Pour this mixture out onto two sheet pans and drizzle the oil over the vegetables in both pans.
Roast for 25-30 minutes turning half way through until vegetables are tender.
Keywords: tzimmes, root vegetables
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