Tsimmes is a Jewish word for a big fuss, as in, “Why are you making such a tsimmes–get out there and shovel the driveway, already!” Because it is a transliteration from the Yiddish צימעס, you may find it spelled tzimmes or in other ways.
The term is most commonly associated with a dish of carrots and sometimes other vegetables, roasted or stewed with dried fruits, often prunes (I love it with dried apricots), and sweetened with honey and baking spices. Rosh Hashanah is a time for celebrating the sweetness of life, which is why tsimmes is frequently found on the Jewish New Year table, where carrot coins auger a year of prosperity.
I often make the dish at Chanukkah, the holiday celebrating the miracle of a single day’s oil lighting the desecrated Jerusalem temple for eight days and nights. This historical observance also comes with its coins, this time in the form of chocolate gelt, or money.
Another prime occasion for a tsimmes is Thanksgiving, when a lean vegetable dish is most welcome alongside the rich sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, biscuits, gravy, pies, and more. I often incorporate an assortment of the season’s abundant root vegetables, sweetened only by the inclusion of sweet potatoes, winter squash, and dried fruits.
For the first time since 1888, and not to be seen again for another 77,798 years, Thanksgiving 2013 falls on the first day (second candle) of Chanukkah. Both holidays celebrate freedom of religious oppression, so the convergence is auspicious indeed. For this special Thanksgivukkah celebration, I’ve used a sugar pie pumpkin (sweeter, denser, and less stringy than a carving pumpkin) as the squash and a Fuyu persimmon (the type that’s eaten firm) instead of dried fruits. Toast the pumpkin seeds for snacking while you await the turkey, which always seems to emerge from the oven an hour or more after guests arrive.
Whether the dish’s name is taken from the fuss of preparing the vegetables or the expression comes from the dish, I think you’ll find it well worth the tsimmes of making it. What better occasion for a fuss than this once-in-a-lifetime Thanksgivukkah? You’ll find that making a tsimmes is not much of a fuss after all.
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small (about 5-inch diameter) Sugar Pie pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 medium turnips, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 12 Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half (leave tiny ones whole)
- 1 medium carrot, cut into coins or ½-inch dice
- 1 small to medium parsnip, peeled and cut into coins or ½-inch dice
- 1 medium Fuyu persimmon, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme or fresh sage leaves (optional)
- ⅓ cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth, or water, heated to boiling
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375F with a rack near the center. Drizzle a 13-by-9-inch glass baking pan or similar-size casserole or gratin dish with about 1 tablespoon of the oil.
- As you cut the vegetables, transfer them to the baking dish. When it is nearly full, drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil over the top and sprinkle with the salt and a few twists of the pepper.
- Toss the vegetables with the oil and seasonings to coat them.
- Add the hot broth or water to the pan and lay the herbs over the top if you are using them. Cover the dish tightly with foil or an ovenproof lid.
- Place the dish in the oven and roast, covered, for 25 minutes.
- Remove the foil, carefully stir the vegetables, and return to the oven until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 45 minutes longer, depending on the size of your pan and the cut of the vegetables. When the tsimmes is finished, the liquid should have completely evaporated and the edges of the vegetables may be turning golden.
- Crumble the thyme leaves over the top if you used them (discard the stems or sage leaves).
- Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds over the top just before serving, if you are using them.
This post is part of a Thanksgivukkah potluck. For additional recipes, please visit these posts:
Thanksgivukkah Tzimmes (Tsimis) Pie from Parade Magazine
Potato Latkes Topped with Turkey and Cranberry Chutney from The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chocolate Cranberry Cake with Gelt Glaze from What Jew Wanna Eat
Candied Sweet Potato Latkes from Everyday Maven
Butternut Squash Puree with Honey and Smoked Paprika from The Lemon Bowl
Sweet Potato Noodle Kugel from Rhubarb and Honey
Pumpkin-glazed Cronuts from MotherWouldKnow
Flamingo’s Mulled Wine Cocktail – Hot & Cold from Flamingo Musings
Thanksgivukkah Decorating from Sucre Shop
Onion Bagel and Bacon Stuffing from Very Culinary
Sweet Potato Pie Doughnut Holes from Cooking for Luv
Challah Cranberry Doughnuts from Food is my Love Language
Challah Stuffing with Turkey Sausage, Leeks and Cherries from The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Pumpkin Cranberry Maple Kugel from Farm Fresh Feasts
Pumpkin Challah from Labna.it
Turkey and Sweet Potato Latkes from FoodieTots
Homemade Manischewitz-flavored Marshmallows from Cupcake Project