Blue Potato & Prune Tzimmes

If you like having your dessert with supper (or for supper…) then this is the recipe for you.

So what exactly are tzimmes? They’re a traditional Ashkenazi Jewish side dish made from roots, dried fruits and usually a generous amount of added sugar and/or honey. It usually features carrot, yams or a combination thereof, although potatoes are classic as well. Some also add fresh fruit to the party, pear or apple being the usual suspects. I’ve even seen some recipes that call for chopped nuts.

This is my riff on the theme which provides lots of purple colour for a plate. It’s still quite sweet and extremely rich – but it’s all fruit sugar and (butter-flavoured) coconut oil. Regardless, reserve this recipe for a special occasion – or a day you feel indulgent – and consider serving it up with a ton of greens to offset all that decadence!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings as a side dish

What you need:

  • 3-4 cups of sliced baby blue potatoes (1/2” slices; or quartered if you prefer)
  • 1 large white, red or yellow onion, diced (a generous cup)
  • 1 cup quartered, pitted prunes
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons butter-flavoured coconut oil (the vegan stuff) – or a bit less if you prefer
  • 1 tablespoon dark buckwheat flour
  • 1-2/3 cups water
  • anise seed (optional)
  • salt

What you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Heat an oven-safe fry-pan (you have a cover for) over medium heat. You want an 8” to 10” pan with deep sides, something like a cast iron pan; a Dutch oven would work too. When the pan is hot, add the oil and the onion. Follow it up with the potato.
  3. Sauté the onion and potato until the onion is soft and golden. Lower the heat as required if the onion is browning too fast. The process should take 10-15 minutes, perhaps a bit longer.
  4. While the onion and potatoes are getting to know the oil and the pan, whisk the buckwheat flour and water together in a measuring cup or bowl until smooth. Set aside.
  5. Once the onion is done to your liking, add the chopped prunes and stir to distribute throughout. Sprinkle lighlty with a pinch (or three…) of anise seeds, if using. Add the water and flour slurry to the pan. Add salt; it should taste a wee bit saltier than you want the finished dish to be. Stir/press it all down, making sure the veggies are mostly below the water level. Turn the heat off the burner.
  6. Cover tightly and transfer the pan and its contents to the oven. Bake, covered, for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from the oven, the mixture should be thick and bubbly and incredibly satisfying to the taste (careful, it’s really hot).
  8. Enjoy!

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