Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes: A Sweet and Savory Delight

Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes

Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes: A Sweet and Savory Delight
Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 1 hour 25 minutes | Servings: 8


Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes
Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes

Bajan Rice and Stew is a traditional dish from Barbados that combines hearty stewed beef with flavorful rice and peas. This dish is a staple in Bajan cuisine, known for its rich flavors and comforting qualities. It's a perfect meal for family gatherings or a cozy night in, offering a taste of Caribbean warmth and hospitality.


The origins of Bajan Rice and Stew can be traced back to the early settlers of Barbados, who combined available local ingredients with cooking techniques brought from Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Over time, this fusion of flavors and methods evolved into the beloved dish known today. It reflects the island's history and cultural diversity, making it a significant part of Bajan culinary heritage.


How to prepare

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (204°C).
  2. Generously grease a 13-by-9 inch baking dish.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine the nectar, broth, margarine, apricots, brown sugar, honey, salt, cinnamon, and pepper. Heat the mixture until the margarine melts.
  4. Add the sweet potatoes and carrots to the saucepan and bring to a boil.
  5. Cover the saucepan and cook until the potatoes begin to soften, approximately 15 minutes.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes and carrots to the prepared baking dish.
  7. Add the prunes to the baking dish.
  8. Pour the juices from the saucepan over the ingredients in the baking dish and press firmly to compact them.
  9. Cover the baking dish with heavy foil.
  10. Bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Uncover the baking dish and continue baking until the potatoes are tender and beginning to brown on top, about 55 minutes.
  12. Let the dish stand for 15 minutes before serving.


  • For a lighter version of this dish, you can substitute the beef with chicken or fish. Vegetarians can use chickpeas or lentils instead of meat and vegetable broth in place of water for cooking the rice and peas.

Cooking Tips & Tricks

To ensure the beef in your stew is tender and flavorful, marinate it with Bajan seasoning and ketchup for at least an hour before cooking. Browning the meat before adding liquids will also enhance its flavor. When cooking the rice and peas, be sure not to stir too often, as this can make the rice mushy. Instead, let it simmer gently to absorb all the flavors.

Serving Suggestions

Serve Bajan Rice and Stew hot, garnished with fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro for added flavor and color. A side of fried plantains or a simple green salad complements the rich flavors of the stew and makes for a well-rounded meal.

Cooking Techniques

The key to a successful Bajan Rice and Stew lies in the slow cooking of the beef to ensure it's tender and the careful preparation of the rice and peas to achieve the perfect texture. Marinating the meat and browning it before stewing enhances the depth of flavor in the dish.

Ingredient Substitutions

If Bajan seasoning is not available, you can use a mix of paprika, allspice, garlic powder, and thyme as a substitute. Sweet potatoes can be used in place of regular potatoes for a different flavor profile.

Make Ahead Tips

The stew portion of this dish can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to two days, allowing the flavors to meld together even more. Simply reheat and cook the rice and peas before serving.

Presentation Ideas

Serve the stew over a bed of rice and peas in a deep bowl or plate. Garnish with fresh herbs and a wedge of lime for a pop of color and flavor. A rustic, colorful table setting complements the homey feel of this dish.

Pairing Recommendations

A light, crisp salad or steamed vegetables make great sides for Bajan Rice and Stew. For drinks, consider a refreshing limeade or a Barbadian rum punch to stay true to the dish's Caribbean roots.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

Leftover Bajan Rice and Stew can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, adding a little water if necessary to prevent drying out.

Nutrition Information

Calories per serving

A typical serving of Bajan Rice and Stew contains approximately 500-600 calories. The exact calorie count can vary based on the specific ingredients used and the serving size.


A serving of Bajan Rice and Stew is rich in carbohydrates, primarily from the rice and potatoes. These ingredients provide the body with energy and are an essential part of a balanced diet. The exact carbohydrate content can vary depending on the rice variety used and the portion size.


This dish contains moderate amounts of fat, mainly from the stew beef and vegetable oil used in cooking. While fats are an essential part of the diet, it's important to consume them in moderation. Opting for lean cuts of beef and using minimal oil can help reduce the fat content.


Bajan Rice and Stew is an excellent source of protein, thanks to the stew beef and peas. Protein is crucial for building and repairing tissues, making this dish a nutritious option for maintaining muscle health and overall well-being.

Vitamins and minerals

The carrots and peas in this recipe provide a variety of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, and potassium. These nutrients support immune function, vision health, and blood pressure regulation, among other benefits.


This recipe may contain allergens such as gluten (depending on the Bajan seasoning used) and soy (in some brands of ketchup). Always check the labels of pre-packaged ingredients if you have food allergies or sensitivities.


Overall, Bajan Rice and Stew is a nutritious and satisfying meal that provides a good balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, along with essential vitamins and minerals. It can be part of a healthy diet when consumed in moderation and with attention to portion sizes.


Bajan Rice and Stew is a flavorful, comforting dish that showcases the rich culinary heritage of Barbados. With its combination of tender beef, hearty vegetables, and aromatic rice and peas, it's a satisfying meal that's perfect for any occasion. By following the tips and variations provided, you can customize the dish to suit your taste and dietary needs, making it a versatile addition to your cooking repertoire.

How did I get this recipe?

I have a strong memory of the first time I saw this recipe for Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes. It was a hot summer day, and I was visiting my dear friend Sarah in her small kitchen. As soon as I walked in, I was overwhelmed by the sweet aroma of apricots and sweet potatoes cooking on the stove.

Sarah was bustling around the kitchen, her apron tied tightly around her waist as she stirred the pot of simmering ingredients. I watched her with fascination as she added a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dash of honey, her hands moving with practiced ease.

"Sarah, what are you making?" I asked, unable to contain my curiosity.

She smiled and gestured towards the pot. "It's a family recipe for Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes. It's a traditional Jewish dish that my grandmother used to make. Would you like to learn how to make it?"

I nodded eagerly, drawn in by the rich flavors and warm memories that seemed to swirl around the kitchen. Sarah handed me a worn recipe card, the edges frayed and stained with years of use.

"This is the recipe that my grandmother passed down to me. It's a labor of love, but the end result is always worth it," she said, her eyes twinkling with nostalgia.

I followed the instructions on the card carefully, chopping the sweet potatoes and apricots with precision and care. As I added the ingredients to the pot, the kitchen filled with the scent of cinnamon and honey, the sweet aroma wrapping around me like a warm hug.

As the Tsimmes simmered on the stove, Sarah shared stories of her grandmother and the traditions that surrounded this dish. She spoke of family gatherings and holiday meals, of laughter and love shared around the dinner table.

I listened intently, feeling a connection to the past and the generations of women who had cooked this recipe before me. The Tsimmes cooked slowly, the flavors melding together to create a dish that was both sweet and savory, a perfect balance of tradition and innovation.

When the Tsimmes was finally ready, Sarah and I sat down at the table to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The sweet potatoes were tender and fragrant, the apricots bursting with sweetness. Each bite was a taste of history and heritage, a reminder of the women who had come before us and the stories they had passed down through the generations.

As I savored the last bite of Apricot-Sweet Potato Tsimmes, I felt a sense of gratitude for the recipes and traditions that had shaped me into the cook I was today. I knew that this dish would become a staple in my own kitchen, a way to honor the past and create new memories for the future.

And so, with a full heart and a satisfied stomach, I thanked Sarah for sharing her family recipe with me. I knew that this dish would hold a special place in my repertoire, a reminder of the power of food to connect us to our roots and our loved ones. And as I washed the dishes and tidied up the kitchen, I knew that this recipe would be one that I would pass down to my own grandchildren in the years to come.


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