3 pounds beef brisket, flanken, or chuck; or 4 pounds short ribs (whole or cut into 6 to 8 pieces)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or schmaltz
2 medium onions, halved and sliced
1 to 1 ½ pounds carrots, sliced into rounds
2 pounds (6 medium) sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered; or 1 pound sweet potatoes and 1 pound white potatoes; or 12 ounces parsnips
2 to 3 cups pitted prunes, or 1 ½ cups prune and 1 ½ cups chopped dried apricots or peaches (optional)
½ to ¾ cup honey, granulated sugar or brown sugar
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sea salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
ground black pepper to taste
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 whole cloves, pinch of ground cloves or dash of ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
About 4 cups water, or 2 cups water and 2 cups orange juice
1. Pat the meat dry with paper towels. In a large pot, roasting pan, or heat-proof dish, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the meat, without crowding the pan, and brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove the meat. Add the onions and sauté until soft and translucent, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom, about 10 minutes.
2. Return the meat to the pot. Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, dried fruit, honey, bay leaves, salt, pepper, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Add enough water to cover.
Cover and bake in a 325 F oven or simmer over a low heat until the meat is tender, 2 ½ to 3 hours.