Tsimmes Chicken with Prunes


Shared by June Feiss Hersh

When writing Recipes Remembered, I met nearly 100 Holocaust survivors, all unique and special in their own way. Each touched me and has stayed with me over the years since meeting them. But several people stand out in my mind, and Lily Margules is one brave woman I will never forget.

She told me her remarkable story of survival, her internment, her journey to Italy, her meeting and marrying Edward the love of her life, her celebrating Israel's statehood while waiting to make Aliyah and her years in Argentina as a new wife. She told me that she use to be embarrassed by her unusual accent until one day she heard Henry Kissinger speak and in her words " I realized that it is what you say, how intelligently you present your ideas that matters, not your accent. It was then that I took a deep breath, opened my mouth and began to express my opinions. I haven't stopped since!

I sadly learned that we lost Lily and to honor her memory and the indelible impression she made on me, I share with you her recipe for chicken with prunes. She learned to make it in Buenos Aires from her Aunt Fanny Mazur. Here's how she described it to me, " I didn't know how to boil a cup of tea. My aunt made a delicious tsimmes, a dish she ate in Vilna, with chicken parts, large slices of potatoes, sweet prunes, brown sugar and honey. It was cooked on the stove, a long time on a small flame, with my aunt adding water as necessary. The prunes would just melt in your mouth."

I hope you enjoy Lily's chicken with prunes and that you retell her story at your Seder table as I know I will at mine.


1 (3 ½ to 4 pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces (skin can be removed)
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups water
½ cup red wine (or broth)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
2 cups pitted prunes
Kosher salt & pepper
2 russet (or sweet) potatoes (about ¾ pound), peeled and cut into large chunks


Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven, and brown the chicken parts on all sides, over medium heat, about 15 minutes. Pour off the fat and add 1 cup of the water, the wine (or broth), brown sugar, honey and prunes. Season the dish with salt and pepper and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 1 hour, and then add 1 more cup of water and the potatoes, being sure to tuck the potatoes into the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Continue cooking for 45 to 60 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. If the sauce is too concentrated, add some boiling water, heat through and serve.


Yields: 4 servings
Start to Finish: Under 2 1/2 hours

Recipe: kosher, poultry, passover