Thursday, 11 October 2012

Recipe: Winter Warmer

And now for something slightly different...The festival of Sukkot has just passed, which involves sitting in a hut outside for 7 days. As you can imagine, in rainy London that is not really a pleasant way to spend the time so to compensate it helps to have something delicious to eat and drink.

Here is a recipe from Claudia Roden's "The Book of Jewish Food" pp.121.
"Prune Tzimmes"
Meat and Potato Stew with Prunes
Server 8 or more
Tzimmes is a general term for a sweet vegetable or meat dish. Just as Oriental Sephardi Jews inherited a taste for meat with fruit from tenth-century Baghdad, Ashkenazi Jews acquired similar tastes in medieval Germany. This meat and prunes tzimmes is the most popular. South African Jews of Lithuanian origin seem the most fond of it. It is traditionally served for Succot, the harvest festival, which celebrates farming and nature and fruit picking, when fruit is the theme of meals taken in the festive booths. I wondered about adding sugar when I cooked it, but the result was very good.
  • 1kg (2lb) slightly fat beef brisket, flank or rolled rib
  • 3 tablespoons chicken fat or oil
  • 1 and a half large onions, coarsely chopped
  • slat and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • half teaspoon of allspice
  • a good pinch of nutmeg
  • 1kg (2lb) new potatoes
  • 500g (1lb) pitted prunes
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or to taste

In a heavy pan over medium heat, turn the meat in the fat or oil to brown it all over. Then remove it and fry the onions gently till soft. Return the meat tot he pan and cover with water. Season with salt and pepper, add the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, and simmer for 1 and a half hours. Add the potato and prunes and the sugar and more water to cover, and simmer 3/4 hour longer. You may want to have plenty of black pepper to balance the sweetness. There should be a lot of liquid. Serve hot.

Variations
  • 4 large carrots cut in to pieces may be added.
  • In America, sweet potatoes, cut in to cubes are used as an alternative to potatoes. 
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.
  • Sweeten with 2 tablespoons of honey instead of sugar.
  • Some red wine could be added to the water."