Tzimmes is a fruit stew that European Jews eat year-round, but especially on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize how sweet they want their new year to be. It smells delicious coming out of the oven, and it's filling, so that even though it's sweet it's nothing like a dessert. The only ingredients that are common to all tzimmeses are carrots and some sort of dried fruit; this is definitely a recipe to be riffed upon. The stew can include boiled chicken white meat, dried apricots, or nuts. I should note that my version of tzimmes is a little bit more complicated than most, mostly because I like lots of different kinds of fruit in it. In Yiddish the word "tzimmes" means a big fuss, as in "don't make such a tzimmes about it", however, I can't tell if the idiom refers to the stew or vice versa.

1 pound carrots
6 sweet potatoes
1/2 cup pitted prunes
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (the juice of about 1 lemon)
1/2 cup honey
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp. margarine
15 oz. canned pineapple chunks
Half a pink grapefruit (unless the grapefruit is small, in which case use a whole one)
Half a pear

Peel the carrots and cut into 1-inch slices. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into small cubes. Place the carrots and sweet potatoes a large pot and cover them with the juice drained from the pineapples. Add enough water to cover and a dash of salt. Cover, boil, then lower the heat to intermediate and cook about 10-15 minutes, until the potatoes are soft but not mushy.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix the orange juice, lemon juice, honey, salt and cinnamon together. Cut the pear into small chunks. When the carrots and sweet potatoes are done cooking, drain them and place them in a deep baking pan. Add the prunes and the pear to the pan and combine. Pour the juice mixture over the contents of the pan. Rub the margarine over the top of the mixture until it's melted and evenly spread. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

Peel the grapefruit and cut each segment in half. Remove the pan from the oven, uncover it, and add the pineapple chunks and the grapefruit. Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool briefly. Because the tzimmes is bright orange, it looks great served in blue or green bowls.

Yields: 4-5 servings, more if the tzimmes is a side dish.

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