roamin' catholic: karin rosner

Shtetl Slow Food: Happy Rosh Hashanah!

Posted on: September 19, 2009

Carrot TzimmesWhen the Jewish High Holy Days roll around, the Yiddishe half of my DNA wants the food my Catholic Nana never made. (She did make one slamming version of chicken soup with matzoh balls, which I’ll make next weekend.) Some of my Evangelical friends look to this weekend to celebrate a Christianized version, calling it “The Feast of Trumpets”. Oy.  And it’s Eid, too. Happy holidays to everyone!

Anyway, when it’s time for Rosh Hashana, I get a hankering for brisket, sweet and sour flavors, and the tastes of fall. Part of me instinctively wants to clean before the start of the new year, scour everything to a shining, bright gleam, and fill the apartment with rich aromas that float down the hallway to the neighbors and make them jealous.

Well, I succeeded in the aroma category this year. But my apartment is a still a wreck, an embarrasment,  a shanda!  I should be cleaning now, but I’m launching my blog instead. In fact, I should have been cleaning all week, but I’ve been in stressed-out proposal writing mode for weeks now without a real break.

Last night, starting about 10 pm, I propped a bowl on my lap and started to peel carrots while catching up on last season’s episodes of Fringe. The classic Rosh Hashana stew, complete with carrots, beef and prunes, really wasn’t finished cooking until 2:30 am. I got scared of the results in the pot, stuck it in the fridge and hoped that a chill would resolve the soupiness of the dish. Last year’s experiement was a Weight Watcher’s recipe which was very good, but it had even more stuff in it that my sister wouldn’t like (sweet potatoes) and it was a little sweet for my taste.

I’m going to post and go back to cleaning, but of course there are still more episodes of Fringe to catch up on…

Carrot Tzimmes

Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking, 2008

Serves 6. 3 + hours of cooking time.

  • 1.5 lbs beef, chuck or flanken, cubed for stew
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into thick coins
  • 1 tsp salt, kosher
  • .5 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 8 ounces prunes, large, with pits (preferably sour)

Directions: Preheat Oven to 250F

In a large stovetop casserole, over medium-high heat, sear the meat a few pieces at a time. When browned, remove and set aside on a platter. When all the meet has been browned, ass the onion to the pan and saute for about 3 minutes, scraping up the brown residue on the bottom with a wooden spoon. In the casserole on top of the onion, layer half the carrots, then half the meat, then the remaining carrots and the remaining meat, seasoning each layer with salt and pepper. Add just enough water to barely cover everything. Bring to a simmer.

Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour. Add the prunes, pushing a few to the bottom of the pot. Return to the oven for another hour.

Uncover the pot, and continue baking for one more hour.

Transfer to the refrigerator to cool (two separate containers for broth and meat, prunes and carrots), and skim the fat after it chills. Much better the 2nd or third day.

Variations:
Sweeter: After 2 hrs, stir in up to a 1/4 cup of honey or firmly packed brown sugar, to taste.

Sweet Potato & Prune Tzimmes: substitute 2 lbs of sweet potatoes (approx. four 8 oz. sweet potatoes), quartered. Can also add an additional 1/2 lb of dried apricots.

Sweet Potato and Carrot Tzimmes: 1 lb of each, or vary poundage to taste.

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