A tsimmes recipe is one of the traditional Passover / Pesach recipes served at the Passover / Pesach Seder for Ashkenazim (Jews whose ancestors came from Central and/or Eastern Europe.). The following tsimmes recipe adds an extra benefit by containing no cholesterol, helping to make the Passover / Pesach festival a waist-friendly celebration as well!

What is tsimmes? The word tsimmes (also spelled: tzimmes, tsimmis, or tzimmis) derives from the Yiddish word "tsimes" which in turn is from the from Middle High German compound words "zimbiz", "zeimbiz", or "zuoimbiz", meaning "to light meal", or "for light meal", where "zi" and "ze" mean "to", and "zuo" means "for" respectively (all three words are ultimately taken from Old High German). The second part of the word, "imbiz" is from Middle High German and, as mentioned, means "light meal". In turn, the word "imbiz" comes from the Old High German word "enbizzan", meaning "to eat" (where "en" = "in", and "bizzan" = "to bite"). The word "tsimmes" is also a Yiddishized play on the German words "zum" ("to", "to the", "to that", or "for") and "essen" ("eat") ("zum essen" as a phrase means "for dinner"). Tsimmes is essentially a sweetened combination of vegetables (usually, but not always, of carrots and potatoes) or of meat and carrots often with dried fruits (usually, but not always, prunes) that is stewed or baked in a casserole. Tsimmes is cooked slowly over very low heat, and is usually sweet in taste.

The word "tsimmes" is also used informally to denote a state of confusion as in "Don't make such a tsimmes" or in other words, "Don't make such a fuss", where "fuss" in this sense means a disturbance causing a state of confusion. The informal meaning of tsimmes can actually be translated into its culinary meaning by referring to tsimmes as a mixture of vegetables and fruits or of meat and vegetables, where the word "mixture" refers to the "state of confusion".

Harvest Vegetable Tzimmes Recipe

Suggestions for this recipe: If this dish is served as a vegetarian entrée dish, then it is recommended that the dish be served with rice, barley, or kasha. For those that prefer to not have prunes in this dish, then you can omit the dried fruit or substitute raisins for the dried fruit.

1/2 pound carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/2 pound parsnips, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1 pound sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and thinly sliced
1 onion, peeled, halved crosswise and thinly sliced lengthwise to form 1/4-inch-thick (or 0.64-centimeter-thick) slivers
1 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons potato starch (see note below)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup pitted prunes, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons grated ginger root
Kosher salt and white pepper, to taste

Instructions for the Harvest Vegetable Tzimmes recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius or Centigrade).
  2. In a 3-quart (2.84-liter) saucepan, combine the carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes and onions.
  3. Add the orange juice and barely enough water to cover the vegetables.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until vegetables are almost tender.
  5. Drain and reserve 3/4 cup cooking liquid.
  6. Slowly add potato starch to reserved liquid, blending well.
  7. Place cooked vegetables in a 13-by-9-by-2-inch (33.02-centimeter-by-22.86-centimeter-by-5.08-centimeter) baking dish or disposable aluminum pan.
  8. Pour potato starch mixture and honey over vegetables.
  9. Add prunes and grated ginger.
  10. Season with salt and pepper.
  11. Stir all the ingredients together well.
  12. Bake, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 50 minutes or until golden brown, sauce is thickened and vegetables are very tender.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories: 299; Protein: 4 grams; Fat: 0.62 grams; Carbohydrates: 74 grams; Cholesterol: no cholesterol; Sodium: 29 milligrams; 2 percent of the calories come from Fat.

Note: Potato starch is available in the kosher section of your supermarket.

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