Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmesby Nava Atlas
You need not wait for a holiday—or be Jewish—to enjoy carrot and sweet potato tzimmes. It’s a festive dish for any cool-weather occasion. In Yiddish, “tzimmes” means a big fuss or commotion. Fortunately, this mélange of sweet vegetables and dried fruits is not much of a fuss to make, and is a traditional side dish for the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Passover. An article in Jewish Food Experience details the origins of tzimmes, stating, “A traditional side dish for Rosh Hashanah, the sweet compote of carrot circles, like golden coins, represents a wish for a sweet and prosperous year. The first-known use of the Yiddish name tzimmes is from 1892, and it is said to have originated from the German zuomuose, or ‘side dish.’” Carrots are one of the most commonly used of symbolic foods in Eastern European meals. The Yiddish word for carrot also means to increase or multiply—a positive wish for prosperity and luck to bring to the table. In this classic Jewish dish, carrots are combined with sweet potatoes and prunes, adding bright color to the table and plate. Recipe adapted from Vegan Holiday Kitchen by Nava Atlas.
3 large sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red or yellow onion, quartered and thinly sliced
4 to 5 medium or 3 large carrots, sliced
1 apple or ripe pear, peeled, cored, and sliced
½ cup chopped dried prunes
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
⅔ cup orange juice, preferably fresh
1 + ½ teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons minced fresh or jarred ginger
Pinch of salt
⅓ to ½ cup finely chopped walnuts for topping, optional
- Bake or microwave the sweet potatoes until done but still fairly firm. Once cool enough to handle, peel and slice them. You can do this step well ahead of time.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the carrots and continue to sauté until the onion is golden.
- Combine with the remaining ingredients except the walnuts in a mixing bowl and stir until thoroughly mixed. Don’t worry if the potato slices break apart.
- Oil a shallow 2-quart baking dish Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the top begins to turn slightly crusty. Serve hot.
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