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Thursday, April 5, 2012 10:41 am

Bialystok Tsimmes

with sweet potatoes, carrots, prunes, and apricots and a Halkie (potato kugel) topping.

Radwine’s tsimmes is another classic Jewish dish – one he’s adapted from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America.” Tsimmes is a Yiddish word meaning fuss and comes from the German “zum essen,” to eat. Because it takes time to make tsimmes, the word came to mean making a big deal over something. While some ingredients are common to both Radwine’s tsimmes’ ingredients and Kitterman’s brisket, there are distinct differences, not least because of the tsimmes’ topping that’s a delicious marriage of two Jewish culinary classics.

• 3 lbs. short ribs (flanken), or chuck roast, cut into approximately two-inch pieces
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• 3 medium onions, sliced
• 2 T. chicken fat (schmaltz) or vegetable oil
• 6 c. beef stock, beef bouillon, or water, or more if needed
• 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled
• 5 large carrots, peeled
• 3 large white potatoes, peeled
• 3/4 lb. dried prunes, pitted
• 3/4 pound dried apricots
• 1/4 c. brown sugar
• 1/4 c. apricot jam (optional)
• Dash of nutmeg
• 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
• Juice of 1 lemon
• Slivered rind and juice of 1 orange
For the Halkie (potato kugel) topping:
• 1 large white potato, peeled and grated (about 2 c.)
• 2 c. matzo meal
• 2 eggs
• 2 T. chopped parsley
• 1 onion, grated
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
• Approximately 1/2 c. water

Sprinkle the meat with salt and pepper. In a large (at least 4 qt.) oven heat the schmaltz in a large (at least 4 qt.) oven-proof casserole with a tight-fitting lid over medium high heat, and add the meat in a single layer. Brown well on all sides. You will probably have to do this in batches; as each piece is well browned, remove it and set aside. When all the meat is browned and set aside, add the onions and stir to coat, lower the heat, cover the pan, and cook until the onions are translucent. Uncover the pan and cook until the onions are brown and caramelized, about 10-15 minutes.

While the onions are caramelizing, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Return the meat to the pan, add enough beef stock to cover the meat, cover the pot, then put in the oven and bake for one hour.

Cut the sweet potatoes, carrots, and white potatoes into quarters or so that the pieces are roughly equal in size. After the meat has cooked for an hour, add the vegetables and the prunes, apricots, brown sugar, apricot jam, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon juice and the orange juice and rind to the pot, stirring gently to combine. Add more beef stock or water if needed to just barely cover the ingredients, cover the pot, and return it to the oven for another hour.

At this point the tsimmes can be made a day ahead. Place the pot in a sink filled with cold water to come to an inch or two below the pot’s upper edge. Gently stir the contents occasionally. Drain and replace the water in the sink when it becomes warm with cold water. When the pot’s contents have cooled to room temperature, cover the pot and refrigerate overnight. The next day remove any fat that’s come to the top; then reheat over low heat before adding the kugel topping.

To make the topping: Mix the ingredients well, using enough water to make a sticky dough. Dust your hands with flour and press very thinly over the tsimmes.

Bake, covered, for 45 minutes.

Uncover the pot and sprinkle with additional Kosher salt and pepper. Return the pot to the oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes, or until the liquid has almost completely disappeared and the topping is crusty. Bring the pot to the table to serve. Makes at least 10 servings.
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