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Friday, February 6, 2009

Prune tzimmes (meat and potato stew with prunes)

This recipe comes from Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food: an Odissey from Samarkand to Vilna to the Present Day which I'd recommend to anyone who wants not only a Jewish cookbook but also a sort of cultural and culinary encyclopedia.
I've tweaked the recipe slightly, though, both for quantities and ingredients. It makes a great, filling, colourful winter dish. I was a bit concerned about sugar in meat, but I promise you that, especially with the addition of red wine, it's not all sweet, just pleasantly sweet 'n'sour. You need time to make it but the preparation's very straightforward.

Ingredients for 4 people:
1 kg beef meat. Pick something like brisket or flank. It has to be tender and with a little bit of fat.
3 tablespoons oil
1 and a half large onions, coarsely chopped.
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a good pinch of nutmeg
2 deciliters of red wine
1 kg new potatoes
4 large carrots
500 g prunes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cube stock
1 teaspoon ginger

In a heavy pan over medium heat, turn the meat in the oil to brown all over. Then remove it and fry the onions gently till soft. Return the meat to the pan and cover with water. Add stock cube. Season with salt and pepper, add the cinamon, nutmeg and ginger and simmer for one and a half hours.
Add the potatoes, carrots, prunes, sugar and wine and more water to cover and simmer 1h longer. You may want to have plenty of black pepper to balance the sweethness. There should be a lot of liquid. Serve hot.

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