Beef Tzimmes

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A comforting beef and vegetable stew sweetened with dried fruit, tzimmes is a Jewish holiday staple, especially on Rosh Hashanah.

This is a cheffy version of my maternal grandmother’s tzimmes, a comforting beef and vegetable stew sweetened with dried fruit and orange juice. The dish is a Jewish holiday staple, especially on Rosh Hashanah, when we eat sweet and honey-flavored dishes to symbolize a sweet and prosperous new year.

In Yiddish, the word “tzimmes” (pronounced tsi-miss) means to make a big fuss – and it’s true that making tzimmes is somewhat of to-do. But it is 100% worth the effort.  Plus, the smell of tzimmes simmering on the stove for hours is nearly as enjoyable as eating it.

Many versions of tzimmes are made without beef and are more of a side dish. This version stands alone as a main course.

What You’ll Need To Make Beef Tzimmes

ingredients for beef tzimmes

The most important thing is to start with the right cut of meat. You want to buy chuck roast that is well-marbled—that means it should have a good amount of white veins of fat running through it. Stay away from meat generically packaged as “stew meat,” especially if it looks lean (I can guarantee you it will not get tender, no matter how long you cook it).

How To Make Beef Tzimmes

trimming fat from beef chuck

Begin by removing any large chunks of fat that are easy to get to but don’t overdo it with the trimming, as the fat helps make the beef tender.

seasoning the beef

Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper.

searing the beef

After heating the oil over medium-high heat until it’s hot and shimmering, place half of the beef in the pan and brown, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes

searing the beef

To sear the meat properly, let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning.

sautéing the onions and garlic

Add the onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to the pot; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes.

adding the tomato paste

Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more.

adding the meat back to the pot with the flour

Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour.

stirring the beef to dissolve the flour

Stir with the wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved.

adding the broth, orange juice and herbs

Add the orange juice, water, beef broth, bay leaf, rosemary, 2 teaspoons of the thyme, and the sugar. Stir to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil.

adding the carrots and apricots

After the stew has cooked for 2 hours, add the carrots and apricots.  Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes.

adding the sweet potatoes and prunes

Add the sweet potatoes and prunes and cook for 30 minutes more.

finished beef tzimmes with thyme leaves

Fish out the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs and discard. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Serve the stew or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. (The flavor of the stew improves if made at least 1 day ahead.) Reheat, covered, over medium heat until hot throughout. Garnish with the remaining fresh thyme leaves.

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Beef Tzimmes

A comforting beef and vegetable stew sweetened with dried fruit, tzimmes is a Jewish holiday staple, especially on Rosh Hashanah.

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 3 Hours 15 Minutes
Total Time: 3 Hours 45 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless beef chuck (well-marbled), cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 5 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup orange juice, from 2 oranges
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks on a diagonal
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup prunes

Instructions

  1. Pat the beef dry and season with the salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat 1-1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat until hot and shimmering. Place half of the beef in the pan and brown, turning with tongs, for about 5 minutes; add the remaining oil and brown the remaining beef. (To sear the meat properly, let the meat develop a nice brown crust before turning with tongs.) Transfer the meat to a large plate and set aside.
  2. Add the onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar to the pot; cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan, for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more. Add the beef with its juices back to the pan and sprinkle with the flour. Stir with the wooden spoon until the flour is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the orange juice, water, beef broth, bay leaf, rosemary, 2 teaspoons of the thyme, and the sugar. Stir to loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cook for 2 hours.
  3. Add the carrots and apricots. Cover and continue cooking for 30 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and prunes and cook for 30 minutes more, or until all the vegetables and meat are tender. Fish out the bay leaf and rosemary sprigs and discard. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve the stew or let it come to room temperature and then store in the refrigerator overnight or until ready to serve. The flavor of the stew improves if made at least 1 day ahead.) Reheat, covered, over medium heat until hot throughout. Garnish with the remaining fresh thyme leaves.
  4. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The stew can be frozen for up to 3 months. Just omit the sweet potatoes because they don’t freeze well. If you’d like, boil some sweet potatoes separately when you defrost the stew and either add them into the stew prior to serving or serve them on the side. Defrost the stew in the refrigerator for 24 hours before you plan to serve it and then reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 590
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 53 g
  • Sugar: 18 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 56 g
  • Sodium: 1,374 mg
  • Cholesterol: 143 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Oh my word this is AMAZING! We are beef stew lovers at this house. I find the whole process therapeutic even if at the end this crowd eats it in ten mins it seems! However I have some big kuddos for this recipe. It has taken me a few years to perfect my own beuf burgionon recipe, which was my go-to for stew. However, I was intrigued by Jenn’s recipe here for her Jewish traditional stew. I made it exactly (minus apricots) and served it this past Sunday. My husband says it is the best beef stew I’ve ever made and he prefers it now over my own special recipe! Truth is, so do I! Thank you for a new family fav! 💖

    • — StephDownUnder on October 8, 2019
    • Reply
  • I used butternut squash rather than sweet potatoes because that’s what I had on-hand. It was very good. The stew-eaters in my family really enjoyed it and said I had outdone myself with this dish.

    • — Donni on October 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen.
    Made this tonight and the flavor is awesome!!
    Question…is the broth supposed to be on the thinner side? The picture on your site looks like the broth is like a stew consistency…on the thicker side. Will it thicken as it sets overnight?
    Thanks

    • — Dana Vitcavage on October 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Dana, If you added the flour, it should be slightly thickened, like a stew — and it should also thicken up overnight. If it doesn’t thicken adequately, you can mash a tablespoon of soft butter with a tablespoon of flour (a roux) and whisk it into the simmering stew. After a few minutes, it should thicken up. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on October 2, 2019
      • Reply
  • This was exquisite. We cooked it traditional African style on a wood fire in a black cast iron pot. Definitely a new family favorite. Thank you Jenn! from Namibia, Africa

    • — Roline on September 28, 2019
    • Reply
  • So delicious! Turned out really good. Thanks for the great recipe. Will be a fall staple at our house.

    • — Colleen on September 28, 2019
    • Reply
  • Jenn – I LOVE your recipes, you are my go to place for consistently reliable and delicious recipes. And I direct all my friends to your blog! Thank you!! ❤️ In this recipe should the sweet potatoes be peeled?

    • — Sue on September 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoy the recipes, Sue! Yes, they should be peeled – will update the recipe now (thx for catching that!).

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2019
      • Reply
  • This looks yummy! Never had it before. Will definitely give it a try.

    • — Daniela on September 26, 2019
    • Reply
  • Oooh, I cannot WAIT to try this! It’s the closest recipe to my grandma’s tzimmes that I’ve seen…except she just used prunes, not apricots too. Unfortunately we don’t have her recipe so my mom is excited to try yours too. 🙂 She said that my grandmother used flanken, which we can’t get anymore…very interested to see how the beef chuck tastes in comparison.

    Have a happy and sweet new year!

    • — Sheri on September 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • I hope you enjoy it, Sheri. I use less sugar than my grandmother did — hers was VERY sweet — but the flavors are very similar.

      • — Jenn on September 26, 2019
      • Reply
    • What sides do you suggest?

      • — Lee Ann on September 30, 2019
      • Reply

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