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Tzimmes (pronounced tsim-is) is a traditional Jewish dish typically made from carrots and dried fruits combined with other root vegetables. It is often part of the Rosh Hashanah meal, when it is traditional to eat sweet and honey-flavored dishes. “To make a big tzimmes over something” is a Yiddish expression that means to make a big fuss, perhaps because of the slicing, mixing, and stirring that go into the preparation of the dish.

I first had Tzimmes at a Seder my friend Lee hosted in the 90s. The Seder turned into a drunken brawl but that is a story for another time. She made Tzimmes and I loved it and thought it was so versatile for many main courses. I think it is the perfect and complete side dish during the fall and winter months. Through the years, I have tweaked the recipe and here is how I make it for 6 – 8 people.

Using a large oven-proof dish with a lid (I use a 12-inch enameled cast iron pan), add 3 – 4 sweet potatoes peeled and cut in 1 ½ inch cubes, 2 pounds of carrots cut in 1 ½ cubes (I like the rainbow variety), 10 ounces of dried dates cut in half, the juice of 2 oranges, 2/3 cup of chicken stock, ¼ cup of olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 ½ teaspoons of cinnamon, a sprinkling of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Give it a stir until everything is well coated, cover with a lid and pop into a pre-heated 400-degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove the lid and cook an additional 15 minutes until all the vegetables are fork tender. Taste for additional salt and pepper before serving.

And it is as easy as that. I served this recently at a dinner party and it was a huge hit! I hope you will try it. Enjoy!

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