So-Cal Carrot and Fruit Tsimmis

Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser Yield:  10 servings
Prep Time:  25 minutes Cook Time:  45 minutes

So-Cal Carrot and Fruit Tsimmis

Tsimmis, or tzimmes, is a traditional Ashkenazi dish with as many variations as there were Eastern European border changes in the 20th century. There are really two types—a beef and carrot–based version and a carrot and root vegetable version. They are both sweet and chock full of dried fruits. In the last half century, here in the United States, you really only see the meat-free versions as a side dish. And what a side dish it is! It pairs with chicken, duck, and turkey as well as it shines beside lamb or beef. You can also try this dish with about ½ cup fresh seedless grapes, halved; fresh pitted cherries instead of the dried apricots; 2 fresh nectarines if they’re in season instead of the Asian pears; or even toss in a few banana slices when you add the kiwis. The choice of fruit is really up to you and what’s fresh at your local markets, but keep in mind that the overall goal of this dish is to be a balanced melange of sweet and tart fruits, dried and fresh, with sweet roasted carrots.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons oil, avocado oil preferred

4 pounds (about 19 large) carrots, peeled, trimmed, and cut into ½ inch-rounds (about 6½ cups)

4 Asian pears, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon toasted, ground cinnamon

1 (2-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

¼ cup mild honey or cane syrup

¼ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup pitted dried soft apricots, roughly chopped

⅓ cup pitted dried tart cherries

1¼ cups fresh baby kiwis, peeled and cut in half (see Kitchen Tips)

½ cup fresh kumquats, cut into 1/16- to ⅛-inch slices, pits removed, optional  

Zest and juice of 2 lemons or yuzu (about 6 tablespoons  juice and 2 tablespoons zest)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the oil, carrots, Asian pears, cinnamon, ginger, salt, pepper, honey or cane syrup, and brown sugar and mix to coat. Add the apricots and cherries and mix well to coat. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and even it out with a spatula or wooden spoon. Cover lightly with foil.
  3. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil, mix well and return to the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, until the carrots are tender and the dried fruits are plump and soft.
  4. Before serving, add the kiwis and kumquats, if using, and mix well.

Kitchen Tips

  1. You can use large kiwis, but peel and cut them into 1-inch pieces.

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