Step into my kitchen, where I’ll be taking you on a journey to prepare the most mouth-watering and iconic Jewish stew: Cholent or Chulent. This rich slow-cooked meal is known for its deep flavors and hearty texture, perfect for a Shabbat lunch or dinner with friends and family.
Cholent, also known as a traditional Jewish stew, is a slow-cooked meal that has been enjoyed for centuries by Jews all around the world. It cooks slowly overnight or for at least 12 hours on low flame, which makes it an easy recipe that requires minimal attention. The result is a meal that is rich in flavor and made with love.
The classic cholent recipe usually includes meat, potatoes, and beans. But don’t be mistaken, vegetarians don’t have to miss out on this dish as there are many vegetarian cholent recipes available too.
Whether you are Sephardic or Mizrahi, prefer lamb or chicken, or even if you are looking for an easy slow cooker recipe, this dish has something for everyone. Join me and let’s dive into the world of Cholent together!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Picture this: a slow-cooked stew, the aroma fills your home, your taste buds already watering in anticipation of the warm and hearty meal that awaits you. Nothing quite compares to the comfort of a traditional Jewish stew, especially when it comes to my personal favorite – the classic Cholent.
What makes Cholent so unique is its wide range of flavors and textures. The combination of meat, potatoes, barley, and beans creates a rich and flavorful dish that is both savory and satisfying. The beef roast provides a deep and rich flavor while the potatoes add a delicate balance of starchiness. The baby lima beans bring earthy notes while the navy, kidney, and pinto beans add creaminess and texture.
I understand that not everyone eats meat, that’s why I also have a delicious vegetarian version of this classic recipe for you. By using marrow bones instead of meat, this version can simmer for hours without losing any of its tasty goodness.
Cholent is more than just a stew, it’s an experience. It brings people together around the table to share in warm conversation and delicious food. Whether enjoyed on Shabbat or any other day of the week, Cholent has the power to transport you directly into my grandmother’s kitchen.
Give my recipe a try and see for yourself why this dish holds such a special place in Jewish culture around the world. Trust me when I say that once you’ve tasted my version of Cholent, it will quickly become your favorite too!
Let’s talk about the star players of this cholent recipe! Here’s everything you’ll need to make this delicious slow-cooked stew:
Meat and Bones
- 2 pounds of beef roast, cubed into 2-inch chunks
- 2-3 marrow bones (optional)
Beans and Grains
- 1 cup of pearl barley
- 1 cup of baby lima beans
- 1 cup of pinto beans
- 1 cup of navy beans
- 1 cup of kidney beans
Vegetables and Aromatics
- 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1½ inch chunks
- 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, drained
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- Fresh cilantro for garnish
These ingredients come together beautifully to create the perfect flavor profile for this classic Jewish stew. Make sure to select high-quality meat and fresh vegetables for best results.
The Recipe How-To
Slow-cook your way to flavor town
Get ready for the most delicious cholent recipe ever! The secret to a perfect cholent is time. The ingredients need to slowly cook and combine, creating intense layers of flavor that will leave your taste buds begging for more.
- 2 pounds beef roast, cubed
- 1½ cups pearl barley
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups baby lima beans
- 1 can diced tomato
- 1 can pinto beans
- 1 can navy beans
- 1 can kidney bean
- 2 large potatoes, peeled & cut into 1½ inch chunks
- Handful of cilantro, chopped (optional)
- Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional: marrow bones
Soak the barley and beans (except canned ones) in cold water for at least 40 minutes. Preheat your oven to 250°F /120°C.
Meanwhile, sprinkle some kosher salt on the beef cubes.
In a large pot or slow cooker, layer the ingredients starting with barley and beans on the bottom, followed by garlic and tomato on top.
Then add the meat with potatoes and sprinkle more kosher salt in between each layer.
Pour water until it covers all ingredients.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and place the pot or slow cooker in the oven or on low heat on a stove for 12 hours.
After twelve hours check that enough liquid remains -it shouldn’t be reduced too much nor should there be too much left-over liquid-. Add more water if necessary or set stove heat to low until desired amount is reached.
Serve hot and sprinkle with fresh cilantro if you wish.
For a vegetarian alternative or simply some variation, omit beef cubes from this recipe, replacing them with some marrow bones instead or just skip meat completely as many traditional Jewish households would often do.
Remember that traditional cholent recipes are cooked overnight or all day long while observing shabbat day rules since no cooking is allowed during this period of rest, which makes it convenient for a delicious meal without having to worry about cooking in real-time even if you’re not celebrating Shabbat yourself but still want this classic stew cooked as slow as possible.
Substitutions and Variations
One of the best things about a cholent recipe is that it is incredibly versatile. With just a few simple ingredient swaps, you can create countless variations of this classic stew.
For our meat-based cholent recipe, you can use different cuts of beef, lamb, or chicken as per your preference. Similarly, almost any type of bean works in a cholent recipe, so feel free to swap out the baby limas, pintos, navy beans, and kidney beans for a different type.
If you want to add more veggies to your cholent, you can try using carrots or sweet potatoes in addition to the potatoes. Fresh herbs like thyme or rosemary can also add some depth of flavor. For those who don’t eat meat, a vegetarian cholent is also a delicious option. You can swap the meat for additional veggies such as mushrooms and butternut squash.
Some Cholent Recipe variations include Sephardic or Mizrahi versions which include peppers and cilantro in place of tomatoes and barley.
To make your cholent spicier, you can add chili powder or cayenne pepper. For a richer flavor profile, you might even add some marrow bones to the pot.
Remember that cooking times may vary depending on what ingredients are used in the recipe. Be sure to adjust cooking times accordingly if making substitutions or variations.
Whatever variation you choose to make with this age-old classic, never forget that cholent is a dish steeped in tradition and history, and serves as a comforting reminder of the customs and cuisines of Jewish heritage all over the world.
Serving and Pairing
The cholent recipe is an absolute powerhouse of flavors and textures. It’s a hearty and satisfying stew that can be served as a standalone dish, or paired with certain sides to amplify its taste. One of the most popular ways of serving cholent is with a side of crusty bread, which is perfect for soaking up all the delicious juices and adding a lovely crunch to each bite.
In addition, this slow-cooked stew pairs well with light salads, such as cucumber salad or tomato salad, which complement its earthy and savory notes. If you’re looking for something more substantial, try serving cholent with boiled potatoes, roasted root vegetables or even rice, all of which will add an extra layer of richness to this classic Jewish dish.
For those who prefer something fresher and lighter, be sure to pair cholent with zesty green herbs, like fresh cilantro or parsley. The bright flavors of these herbs nicely balance the rich and decadent aspects of this dish. Lastly, keep in mind that cholent is a versatile dish that can be served hot or cold, making it a great option for picnics, potlucks, Shabbat dinners and other occasions.
In conclusion, you can never go wrong with a steamy bowl of cholent paired with your favorite sides. So whether you’re planning a casual family meal or an elegant dinner party, this classic stew is sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you feeling warm and satisfied.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Ah, my dear friend! So you’ve enjoyed the marvelous dish that is cholent and now you’re wondering how to extend its longevity beyond a single sitting? Fear not, for I have some tips on how to make your leftovers last.
Firstly, let me tell you that cholent is perfect for meal prepping. You can easily make it ahead of time and reheat it when needed. In fact, cholent only gets better with time. The flavors become more developed and complex. It’s almost as if the ingredients are having a conversation while slowly simmering together.
To make-ahead this traditional Jewish stew, prepare the recipe as directed and let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze cholent in individual portions for up to 2 months! It’s great to have frozen servings of cholent for those lazy evenings when you don’t feel like cooking.
When reheating cholent, do not microwave it! Please don’t insult the dish with such disrespectful behavior. This dish has been meticulously crafted over generations and deserves a bit of finessing. Reheat it on low heat either on the stovetop or in the oven. This will ensure that the consistency and flavor remain consistent.
And there you have it, my friend! Some simple tips on how to store and reheat this magnificent culinary experience known as cholent. Keep these tips in mind so that you can enjoy this hearty meal all week long without sacrificing any of its delicious flavor.
Tips for Perfect Results
If you’re looking to cook the perfect Cholent to impress your family and friends, there are a few tips that will help you achieve perfection.
Firstly, for meat lovers, I highly recommend adding marrow bones to the stew as it adds a rich flavor to the dish. Additionally, choosing a beef roast with lots of marbling will also improve the taste and texture.
When preparing the vegetables, be sure to cut them into uniform pieces so they cook evenly. Potatoes should be peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks to create that perfect balance between hearty and tender.
For those who prefer vegetarian options, try substituting meat with chicken or lamb. You can also opt for a mizrahi or sephardic version with different spices and vegetables such as chickpeas and sweet potatoes.
One of the most important things when making cholent is to have patience. The dish requires slow cooking on low flame for at least 12 hours to allow all the flavors to meld together perfectly.
To enhance the flavor profile further, experiment with different herbs such as cilantro and use diced tomatoes to create that perfect balance between sweet and savory.
Finally, although not traditional, you can try adding a touch of spice by sprinkling pepper on top of the stew or reducing the amount of kosher salt used in the recipe.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to create the best Cholent recipe ever and enjoy a slow-cooked stew that will warm your soul!
As we reach the end of our cholent recipe article, it’s time to address some frequently asked questions. Cooking traditional Jewish stew is an art, and even the most experienced chef might have some doubts about the process. Therefore, I’ve gathered a list of commonly asked questions to ensure you have all the necessary knowledge to cook the best cholent ever. Let’s clear all those doubts before you start cooking!
What meat is best for cholent?
For the best cholent, it’s crucial to pick fatty and tender meats, such as beef shin or flanken. Adding in marrow bones will give your dish an extra kick of taste, while pastrami can provide a distinct flavor. If you cook cheek meat slowly and at a low heat, it will become succulent and tender, creating a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
Which beans are best for cholent?
For my stew recipe, I like to switch things up by using different types of beans. Depending on my mood, I may opt for chickpeas, which is a common ingredient in Moroccan dafina. Alternatively, I might use a blend of kidney, pinto, and lima beans, which are typically found in Ashkenazi cholent.
What is cholent in hebrew?
Hamin, which is the predecessor to cholent and originated from the Iberian region, is believed to have been named after the Hebrew word for ‘hot’, possibly as a result of a shabbat stew recipe that was adapted from harisa. A similar dish known as “trasnochado” (Spanish for “overnighted”) was also created using the same ingredients.
What does cholent taste like?
The cholent had a unique blend of flavors, reminiscent of cassoulet but with a distinct Yiddish touch. The dish was bursting with marrow and umami, creating a rich, savory taste similar to a well-made bone broth. As I savored the dish among my new and religiously diverse family, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of belonging. It appears that I am not alone in my recent appreciation for cholent.
As I come to the end of this article on the flavorful Cholent recipe, I’d like to invite you all to try it out. This is a recipe that has been passed down through generations and each time we make it, we are reminded of its traditional value. With the myriad of ingredients available and the freedom to experiment with substitutions, there’s certainly no reason not to enjoy this dish.
Whether you are a seasoned chef looking for a new challenge or a beginner who wants to learn more about Jewish cuisine, the Cholent recipe is the perfect choice for you. It is packed with protein and fiber thanks to its meat and bean combination, perfect for feeding your family or guests.
In conclusion, give the Cholent Recipe a chance and discover its uniqueness. You never know what might become one of your favorite slow-cooked stews. Remember that cooking is an art – don’t be afraid to experiment with spices or vegetables. The most important thing is to follow the recipe with care and love each step of the way.
- 1 cup kidney bean
- 1 cup navy beans
- 1 cup pinto beans
- 1/2 cup baby lima beans
- 1/2 cup barley
- 2 beef bones
- 2 -3 lbs beef roast (arm or chuck)
- 3 small diced onions
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4-1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 8 medium potatoes
- Soak beans overnight. Drain and discard any stones. Place beans in 8 quart pot and cover the top of the beans with an inch of water.
- Sear your beef roast and leave whole. Place beef roast and beef bones into pot.
- Dice the onions and mince the garlic, chop cilantro.
- Combined remaining ingredients except for potatoes into a food processor and mix. Put mixture over meat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer/low and allow to cook for 3 hours.
- Add potatoes and allow to cook for one hour more.
- Before Shabbos, place the pot on the blech and add one inch of water above the ingredients. For a pareve cholent omit the meat and meat bones.