Roasted Carrot & Sweet Potato Tzimmes | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

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Roasted Carrot & Sweet Potato Tzimmes

Reclaiming farm-to-table, ‘The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen’ integrates Ashkenazi and Sephardic flavors.
Roasted Carrot & Sweet Potato Tzimmes

Do make a tzimmes out of it. Courtesy of Sterling Epicure

Makes 8 to 10 servings

30 min

1 hr 45 min

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What is Jewish food? Since the culinary journey along the Jewish diaspora spans many regions of the world, it can be difficult to define. As Jews settled in new areas, they incorporated local ingredients and shared well-loved recipes, creating a whole new cuisine.

Take mile-high pastrami on rye, rich chocolate rugelach and shakshuka, and throw in traditional holiday foods and the rules of kashrut and you’ve got a cuisine as diverse and complex as its people. Award-winning author Amelia Saltsman takes a farm-to-table approach to Jewish food with her new cookbook “The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen.”

Seasonal cooking is actually not a new concept at all; Amelia is quick to point out that the foods of Jewish holidays are naturally seasonal. Herbs for Passover, stuffed vegetables for Sukkot, pomegranates and tzimmes for Rosh Hashanah. So it only makes sense that she divides the book into six micro-seasons.

The book begins with essential ingredients, helpful techniques and some staples in Jewish cooking: tahini sauce, schmaltz and gribenes (including a vegan version made just from onions). Her take is as fresh as her food: Duck with White Beans and Gribenes; Marinated Chickpea Salad with Tahini and Lemon Sauce; Apple, Pear and Concord Grape Galette in Rye Pastry; Roasted Chicken with Tangerines, Green Olives and Silan. Laced with Amelia’s personal anecdotes as the daughter of a Romanian mother and Iraqi father who met in the Israel army, the recipes serve as a family memoir with Jewish food history woven in. She seamlessly combines Ashkenazi and Sephardic flavors to produce new favorites.

Many of the recipes have vibrant photos, not a surprise given all the colorful ingredients she uses. Props from Amelia’s personal collection — a tablecloth from her grandmother, a cooling rack from her aunt — add another personal touch. The book is not labeled as a kosher cookbook, but the recipes do follow the rules of kashrut and many of the desserts are naturally pareve. Amelia claims her recipes will make you wonder, is this Jewish? But even if they are not the familiar matzah ball soup and brisket of your youth, you won’t question their deliciousness.  

Tzimmes was actually the inspiration for The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen. Amelia shared her modern version on social media, and it quickly received a positive response. Then a few of her other modern remakes did as well. She realized people were craving light, seasonal Jewish-inspired recipes. Here is the tzimmes that started it all. You’ll notice the sugar is gone. In its place: roasted carrots, sweet potatoes and shallots with tons of citrus.




6 to 8 oranges

1 lemon

2 pounds (900 g) carrots

3 pounds (1.4 kg) sweet potatoes

1 pound (450 g) shallots (about 8 large)

½ to ¾ pound (225 to 340 g) dried plums or pitted prunes (vary the amount depending on how sweet and fruity you want the dish)

3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground white or black pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Using a swivel-blade vegetable peeler, remove the zest in large strips from 2 of the oranges and the lemon. Be sure to press down only hard enough to capture the colored part of the skin, not the bitter white pith. Juice enough oranges to yield 2½ cups (600 ml) juice. Reserve the lemon for another use.
  2. Peel the carrots and cut them crosswise into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks or lengthwise into 2-inch (5-cm) chunks (if carrots are very fat, first halve them lengthwise). Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into large bite-size chunks. Peel and quarter the shallots lengthwise. Use kitchen scissors to snip the dried fruits in half.
  3. Use a roasting pan large enough to hold all the vegetables in more or less a single layer. Place carrots, sweet potatoes, shallots, dried fruit, and lemon and orange zests in the pan. Toss with enough olive oil to coat evenly, season with salt and pepper, and pour the juice over all.
  4. Roast the vegetables, turning them once or twice during cooking, until they are tender and are browned in places and most of the juice is absorbed, about 1¼ hours. If you want a saucier finished dish, add another ½ to 1 cup (120 to 240 ml) juice during the last 20 minutes of cooking. The juice should thicken slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.