First let’s state the facts. As a child and even as an adult I hated tzimmes. Now most of you probably don’t know what a tzimmes is, but my mom kvelled over tzimmes. She loved the stuff, but me, not so much. A Jewish dish consisting of carrots, prunes and honey and often cooked with a piece of brisket, tzimmes just wasn’t my childhood dream. It was stewlike and sweet and though everyone always made a tzimmes over it, well, it just wasn’t my thing. And yeah, that’s exactly what tzimmes means; a fuss. Like in this election… We are still a great country, so let’s not make a tzimmes over it! Instead let’s bake a tzimmes!
Last year for Passover I made this tzimmes. It is more traditional to make for Rosh Hashona because we always eat sweet things made with honey to symbolize the need to have a sweet year. I can’t really recall when my mother made this, but it seemed to appear often; which meant lots of leftovers for her, though us kids could have cared less. Supposedly it was a real tzimmes to make because of all that went into it, which is all the more reason for me to not like making it. Well, that is until I found this recipe.
I do love tradition and it was with great expectation that I made this recipe. Root veggies are some of my favorites. Filled with sweet potatoes and parsnips and figs, I also think this would make a snazzy Thanksgiving side. And you don’t have to make a tzimmes over it! The original recipe that I spied-and I can’t remember what book it came from…had za’atar in it. Well, you know how much I adore za’atar, but being Passover and all, and knowing that my dad is not big on too many seasonings, I switched it up a bit to make it more traditional-well-in an untraditional sense.
No this isn’t a stew. It is easy to make. It is pretty. It tastes good. It can be served at room temperature, which means it can give you extra oven space, which is BIG for Thanksgiving. And last, but not least, it isn’t a tzimmes to make!
Roasted Fig and Carrot Tzimmes
Time to Make: About 20 minutes active and 30-40 minutes to bake
8 dried figs or 3/4 c golden raisins
1/4 c orange juice
3/4 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1″ sticks
3/4 lb sweet potatoes peeled and cut into 1″ sticks
1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1″ sticks
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 onion, sliced in thin wedges
1 T chicken fat schmaltz or olive oil
2 T olive oil
1 T molasses
1 T balsamic vinegar
3 bay leaves, split in half
Salt and Pepper
Combine figs with orange juice and let soak for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Drain and reserve the juice.
Preheat oven to 425. Line a large baking sheet with parchment.
In a large bowl, combine the figs or raisins, carrots, sweet potatoes and parsnips, garlic and onion. Add the olive oil or schmaltz, vinegar and molasses, bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Make sure all is coated well and spread out on the baking sheet. Try not to crowd or the vegges may steam and not roast. (You want this to roast so the veggies get caramelized and not stewed!) After about 30-40 minutes when the veggies are cooked, sprinkle with the reserved orange juice and toss again. Taste for seasoning and serve warm or at room temperature.
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