I used to really, truly loathe this dish. It was the one thing I wouldn't touch on my Passover plate. Kids are funny about food textures—the soft carrots, over-sweetened with buckwheat honey in this case, made me dread the holiday when I knew tzimmes were involved.
Since reaching adulthood, I've found a way to make this vegetarian-friendly side pleasing to carnivores, gluten-free eaters, adults, and children alike. Keep it simple—a touch of honey highlights the carrots' natural sweetness. Spices like cardamom and cinnamon give the dish more dimension, and the citrus juice brightens everything up, just in time for spring.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion (8 ounces), thinly sliced
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2- inch rounds
- 1 1/2 ounces (about 1/3 cup) golden raisins
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice from about 3 medium oranges, such as navel
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (see note)
- 1/2 tablespoon orange zest, from one orange
Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally until soft and light golden-brown, about 7 minutes. Add carrots and stir to coat in oil. Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Add the cinnamon and cardamom and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the honey, salt, pepper, and orange juice, and mix well to combine. Bring liquids to a simmer, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove lid and increase heat to high, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced to a thin layer at the the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and add butter and zest, stirring until the butter and sauce form a glossy glaze. Add more salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
If dairy poses a problem for religious or dietary reasons, additional olive oil can be added in its place.