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Passover : Time for Tzimmes

March 24, 1994|BEV BENNETT

The Yiddish word tzimmes is loosely translated as anything that's a fuss (as in "Don't make a tzimmes . . .") or all mixed up. But as a term in Middle European Jewish cooking, tzimmes is a delicious concoction of meat, vegetables and fruit.

Since there's no such thing as a little tzimmes, cooks often make it when they're hosting a large group of family and friends for Passover or other Jewish holidays. Ingredients vary according to individual preference and family tradition. Some people start with a large slab of brisket; others use bits of meat. In some homes, tzimmes is a meal; in others, it's a side dish.

Despite the name, tzimmes isn't a fuss; just put everything in the pot and let it simmer to a sweet, mellow stew.

TZIMMES FOR TWO 1 tablespoon cooking oil 1 small onion, chopped 1 garlic clove, minced 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck boneless short ribs 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 2 rounded tablespoons tomato paste 2 rounded tablespoons honey Juice 1 lemon 1 cup beef broth 1 large carrot, trimmed, sliced 1 inch thick 1 large sweet potato, peeled, sliced 1 inch thick 1 large white potato, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes Salt Freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in Dutch oven over high heat. Add onion and garlic. Reduce heat to medium and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add beef and brown on both sides, about 5 minutes. Add ginger, tomato paste, honey, lemon juice and beef broth. Stir well. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 30 minutes.

Add carrot, sweet potato and white potato. Cover and simmer until vegetables and meat are very tender, 1 hour longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 2 generous servings.

Note : This dish improves on standing. If possible, prepare day before. Refrigerate overnight and then reheat. It may be necessary to add little more beef broth to thin it. Tzimmes should be consistency of beef stew.

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