In The Kosher Carnivore, author June Hersh dubs this dish "Chicken with Prunes Tsimmes," explaining "a tsimmes is a Yiddish word, which idiomatically translates as 'a big fuss.' In culinary terms, it denotes a sweet dish that is a melting pot of flavors. This chicken tsimmes brings together large slices of potatoes, sweet prunes, brown sugar, and honey to create a melt-in-your-mouth meal that is sweetly satisfying."
What Hersh doesn't mention is that this recipe is virtually fuss-free -- once you're done browning the chicken and tossing in the rest of the ingredients, the recipe is essentially hands-off. Just leave it to braise, and you'll be rewarded with beautifully bronzed, fall-off-the-bone chicken that's sweet, savory, and utterly delicious.
Miri's Recipe Testing Notes and Tips: Hersh recommends pouring off the fat after browning the chicken, but depending on the size and shape of your pan, it can be tricky to do so without getting splattered by hot fat or losing a piece of chicken. A simpler option is to wad up a couple of absorbent paper towels, grab them with tongs, and use them to sop up the melted fat.
If you'd like to reduce the prep time even more, use the smallest baby or fingerling potatoes you can find in place of the russets. Just clean and add them to the recipe -- there's no need to peel or cut them, and they make for a nice presentation!
Make it a Meal: You don't need much to turn this one-pot dish into a meal. Start with a simple green salad or a bowl of Caramelized Onion, Fennel, & Mushroom Soup. Serve the chicken with a side of Roasted Broccoli with Ginger. Finish the meal with a slice of Amazing Whole Grain Jewish Apple Cake. Or, if you need a gluten-free (or Passover-friendly) treat, opt for Chocolate Hazelnut Stuffed Dates and coffee or tea.
From THE KOSHER CARNIVORE ©2011 by June Hersh. Reprinted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights reserved. Available online in hardcover or digital format at Amazon.com.
- 1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (and then cut the breasts in half, or the equivalent quantity of your favorite chicken parts)
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine (or chicken stock)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 cups pitted prunes
- 2 russet potatoes (about 3/4 pound), peeled and cut into large chunks (can substitute sweet potatoes)
1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Heat the oil in a large braising pot. Lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper, add to the pot, and brown on all sides over medium heat, about 15 minutes.
2. Pour off the fat and add 1 cup of water, the wine (or stock, brown sugar, honey, and prunes. Season the dish with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 1 hour.
3. After 1 hour, add 1 cup of hot water and the potatoes, being sure to tuck the potatoes into the sauce. Continue cooking for 45 to 60 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.