The Great Plotnik

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Svinina (Tsimmis)

Plotnik is following a recipe today for a Russian dish called Svinina, which sounds like 'swine' but looks to him a lot like a tsimmis -- meat (pork, in this case, but veal or beef for a proper tsimmis) browned and then stewed in stock with baby onions, dried apricots and prunes.

"Don't make such a big tsimmis out of this," you hear people say when a little problem is about to turn into a big problem, or put another way, when you're adding too many things to the stew and everything is boiling away to nothing.

Plotnik loves the origins of food. Meat stewed with dried fruit is pure Persian, brought no doubt into Russia after many centuries of being neighboring countries. The difference will always be the herbs available and the fat used to brown the meat. The Persians don't eat pork so they brown their lamb dishes in vegetable oil -- the Russians prize pork so they savor their pork fat. The Poles and Germans had access to veal and beef. If the tsimmis, or svinina, is Russian it will probably contain dill and parsley; if it's Persian, where it's a lot hotter, you'll probably find mint and sumac and if it's Polish or German, where cultures kept crossing and mixing (war does that) you might find anything at all tossed into the pot.

Carrots. Everybody has carrots.

Plottie suspects Cousin Doris made a pretty snappy tsimmis. Is he right, J of J J Seattle? What was in it?


At 5:33 PM, Blogger J and J said...

Mom's always had beef in it and sweet potato as well as white potatoes, dried apricots, raisins and prunes and cooked it till it fell apart! Mine is similar but I also add about a half of a sweet onion.
She put prawn sugar in, but I avoid that.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger DAK said...

Prawn sugar? You mean -- shellfish prawns? Sweet ones? Never heard of that one --

At 8:15 PM, Blogger J and J said...

Brown sugar, haha, lol

At 11:02 PM, Anonymous Cousin Seattle said...

Mom's tsimmes is TOP notch! Yum!

At 6:19 AM, Blogger mary ann said...

Not everyone says "tsimmis" ~ how did it taste?


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