Nov 21, 2018 | Featured Food

Southwestern Tsimmes from Joan Nathan

A bowl of Southwestern tsimmes at the Roadhouse.

Spicing things up with a holiday favorite!

by Marcy Harris

Dubbed by the Houston Chronicle as the “Queen of American Jewish cooking”, our friend Joan Nathan is well loved at the Roadhouse because she connects us with Jewish foods and their stories. The author of no less than 10 cookbooks, Joan preserves recipes that are important to Jewish culture. 

“Cooking traditional recipes is a way of saying, ‘This is my family, these are our customs’”, says Joan. “Holiday cooking should show Jewish people where we came from.”

What we also really love about Joan is that she likes to make traditional foods approachable. One of our favorites are the Southwestern tsimmes from her James Beard award-winning cookbook, Jewish Cooking in America, and they are super easy to make at home.

While the Ashkenazi Jewish dish is more often prepared for Rosh Hashanah, they also find their way on the Roadhouse menu nearly every Chanukah and Passover. Joan’s version, which requires stuffing tsimmes into chilies, reflects how traditional foods can adapt as people move around the globe. At the Roadhouse, we mix the tsimmes with roasted New Mexico green chilies before we bake them to capture the Southwestern flavor. The adaptation fits perfectly with the Roadhouse because of our love for American regional cuisine as well as Jewish foods.

Rather spend your time stuffing your face than stuffing the chilies? In step 8, you’ll find an alternative that requires you to simply bake the stuffing in a casserole dish. Just as we do here, you can of course still mix chilies in with the tsimmes. The subtle smokey heat is a perfect complement to the sweet tang offered by the rest of the dish. What’s also fantastic about Joan’s recipe is that they are vegetarian, gluten-free, and could honestly be served throughout the season for any occasion. I actually started making them for Thanksgiving after realizing that they are far superior to the sweet potato casserole I had been making for years. Any version you choose to make will definitely be a hit for your family holiday feast!