Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tzimmes with Dumplings

By now I'm sure you've realized that this whole week has been Rosh Hashanah recipes. And I don't know about you, but for me, it's been a real eye opener (or closer maybe). I've come to the realization that Jewish food is not pretty, at least not from a photography standpoint (It's okay, I can say it, I'm Jewish). To be fair, it might just be the dishes I chose. Each one was mushier and clumpier than the next. This tzimmes is no exception.

But looks aside, tzimmes is sweet and delicious. It's usually just cooked vegetables and fruit. I have seen recipes with meat added, but I've never tried that. If you're already familiar with tzimmes, you might be asking yourself, what's up with the dumplings? I know tzimmes doesn't usually have them, but that's the way my grandmother made it and I grew up thinking that was normal. Later when I tried to find a recipe with dumplings, I found out it isn't. But I like them. Especially with a little onion. It adds a nice savory note so the dish isn't sickeningly sweet.

(Yield: 8-10 side dishes)

2 medium-large sweet potatoes, cut into 1 ½-inch chunks
8 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 lb. dried fruit, such as apricots, raisins, cranberries, prunes (apricots halved)
1/2 cup maple sugar (or light brown sugar)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
a few pinches black pepper
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1/2 small onion, finely minced (about 1/2 cup)

1.      Put sweet potatoes, carrots, dried fruit and maple sugar in a large oven-safe pot and add enough water to reach just over the top of the vegetables. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

2.      While the vegetables cook, prepare the dumplings. Combine flour, baking powder, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, buttermilk, melted butter and onions; pour into the dry ingredients and mix just until the dough comes together, the batter should be thick like biscuit dough and sticky (add more buttermilk if too dry).

3.      Preheat oven to 325° F.

4.      Spoon 1-2 cups of the hot liquid from the pot into a measuring cup.  Make very small dumplings (about 1 inch each) and place them on top of vegetables in the pot.  Pour the hot liquid over.

5.      Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until dumplings are golden brown.  Break up the dumplings using a spatula or knife. Mix to combine and let sit for 10 minutes (the dumplings will soak up more of the liquid). Serve hot.

Freezes well (stir in some water if needed when reheating).

chopped carrots
chopped sweet potato
dried cranberries, apricots and golden raisins
maple sugar
water added

I tried making it with apple cider once and it was way too sweet.
mixing chopped onion with buttermilk, egg and butter
adding the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients
dumpling dough
removing some of the hot cooking liquid
adding the dumplings
don't worry about them touching (you'll break them up later)
pouring the hot cooking liquid over the dough
ready to bake
close up
breaking apart the dumplings
on a plate

See what I mean (not exactly the
Cindy Crawford of the food world).

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