In all honesty, the idea of tzimmes has never much appealed to me. I say idea and not dish because I am pretty sure I have never actually tasted it- the concept of cooked dry fruit, accompanied by honey and cinnamon and mushy, stewed carrots, has always seemed overly saccharine to me and I’ve thus far stayed away.
But recently, while thinking of new ways to reinvent a few classic Rosh Hashana dishes, I thought about tzimmes. True, I’d never seen it as a top contender (or a contender at all) for a spot on my holiday table, but with a couple of very liberal (and namely, savory) changes, who’s to say it couldn’t become something newer, grander and much more enticing?
The result of my imaginings was this: a colorful, showstopping and completely untraditional chicken dish. Here, wonderfully savory chicken complements the sweet tzimmes of yore, which I’ve updated by swapping fresh, juicy plums and apricots for their dry, prune-y counterparts, adding sweetly swirled candy cane beets, switching out regular carrots for vivid, tri-colored ones, and tossing in a handful of golden raisins, to be plumped up with aromatic pan juices. Alongside requisite onion, aromatic rosemary and heady cloves of garlic, the striking fruit and vegetable mixture roasts in a cinnamon, ras el hanout spiked date honey sauce.
Once the fruits and vegetables have softened just a bit, they’re topped by the chicken and doused in a saffron infused white wine mixture, which saturates the entire dish as all its components roast together, in happy, fragrant harmony.
The result is a beautiful, delicious dish, with fork tender fruits and vegetables, bronzed chicken and a saffron and white wine flavored gravy that puddles at the bottom of the pan and would be splendid over fluffy couscous. Serve this holiday worthy chicken with even more wine and with shreds of fresh, green parsley and watch as even the most vehement of tzimmes haters comes slowly, then speedily around.
Serves: 4 (recipe can be doubled or tripled!)
Why I love this recipe: a seasonal, Moroccan inspired take on tzimmes, this chicken is nestled between sweet fresh apricots, plump golden raisins, tart purple plums and colorful beets and carrots. Flavored with rosemary, middle eastern date honey, onion, and enough garlic to make the whole thing heady, the fruits, vegetables and chicken are all roasted in one pan and drizzled with a cinnamon, ras el hanout and cumin spiced sauce. To top it all off, a bit of saffron is toasted to strengthen its flavors and then infused into water, which is combined with dry white wine and poured over the entire dish as it roasts.
Notes: the golden raisins aren’t pictured here, as I added them when I retested this recipe. Don’t skip them! They’re a worthy addition.
Find the rest of the recipe and more pictures on The Nosher!