The word tzimmes or tsimmes, according to Leo Rosten (The Joys of Yiddish) comes from
the German words zum "to the" and essen "eating." It's a dish of cooked vegetables, fruits, and
sometimes meat. Because of the many ingredients and the long cooking time, the word has come to mean a prolonged procedure,
an involved business, trouble, etc. Leo Rosten quotes a newspaper advertisement: "Skip the fuss.
Leave the tsimmes to us."
Other symbolism of tzimmes is in the fruit itself. Tzimmes is traditionally served at the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah.
The carrots in the tzimmes symbolize abundance because the Yiddish word for carrot is mern, "to multiply." All the
fruits and vegetables used tend to be sweet, for a Sweet and Abundant New Year.
Pat the meat dry. The meat can be whole, on or off bones, or cut up. Heat the oil in a large oven-proof pot or Dutch oven. Add the
meat and brown on both sides. Add the onions and enough water to cover. Boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low
and simmer for 1 hour.
- 3-4 pounds beef brisket or short ribs
- 3 T. olive oil
- 3 medium yellow onions, sliced
- 3 T. browned all-purpose flour
- 1.5 pounds carrots, sliced (as "golden" coins)
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 pound white potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 1 pound pitted prunes, dried apricots, dried peaches, or any combination
- 1/2 cup brown sugar or honey
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cloves and ground ginger
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Brown the flour in an ungreased skillet until it smells "nutty." Do not burn it!
Gradually stir the flour into 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Stir this back with the meat.
Add the vegetables, fruit, spices. Cover and bake until tender, at least 3-5 hours.
Uncover the pot, and continue to cook until the meat is very tender, about 30 minutes.
Alternatively, once all the ingredients are added, cover and place on a sabbath warming tray blech from Friday afternoon until