Photo credit: Flickr/Jen R
Tzimmes is the Jewish recipe for short ribs with sticky-sweet dried fruit. It’s perfect for Purim, which falls in early spring. Pair it with a sultry red wine.Print
- 4 to 6 pounds short ribs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
- 1/2 pound dried apricots
- 1/2 pound prunes
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 2 teaspoons orange zest
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Olive oil as needed
- 2 carrots, diced
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Rinse the short ribs and pat them dry. Season all over with salt and pepper and bring to room temperature on a plate.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While it comes up, cut the sweet potatoes into 1/2-inch cubes. Add them to the water, reduce the heat, and simmer until they slide off the tip of a knife, 10 to 15 minutes, Drain, reserving the water.
- Put the apricots and prunes in a large bowl and cover by an inch with the boiled, sweet potato sweet. Cover with a lid or plate and let plump for 15 minutes, then drain over a bowl, reserving the liquid.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Whisk in the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, orange juice and zest, and honey until dissolved. Taste and adjust: It should be sweet and deep. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Heat a glug of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in batches, brown the short ribs on all sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove the browned ribs to a plate. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the sweet potatoes and carrots to the Dutch oven. Toss lightly to coat with the fat. Cover with the rehydrated fruit and arrange the short ribs in a single layer over the fruit; it’s okay if it’s a tight fit. Pour the melted butter mixture over everything and add just enough of the fruit-soaking liquid to come up to the bottom of the short ribs.
- Cover and braise in the oven for 2 to 3 hours, checking occasionally to make sure there’s enough liquid. The sweet potatoes will break down: that’s perfectly okay. The tzimmes is done when the meat is fork-tender.
- To serve, put the Dutch oven in the middle of the table on a trivet or two folded dishcloths and let everyone dig in. (Or when the Dutch oven is cool to the touch, you can slide it right into the refrigerator: reheat over medium-low heat.)