Delicious Galician Jewish Cholent Recipe for Gourmet Foodies

As a chef, one thing I have learned over the years is that food has the ability to transport us. Not just to new places, but also to the past. And this is exactly what I want to do with this recipe for Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl.

Cholent is a traditional Jewish stew that has been served for centuries in many Jewish communities around the world. Each community has its unique take on the dish, and this recipe pays homage to the Jewish ghetto in Galicia, where my ancestors come from.

This dish is a slow-cooked stew with beef brisket, white beans, pearl barley, potatoes, garlic cloves, onions, and spices like dried thyme, bay leaf, sweet paprika, honey, pepper, salt.

But what makes this cholent unique is that it’s paired with kneidl – fluffy dumplings made with all-purpose flour, parsley, baking powder and butter.

If you’re looking for a traditional Jewish stew that will warm your soul and remind you of old times or if you’re adventurous enough to try new dishes from different cultures tied to history, then this recipe is perfect for you. Get ready for a flavorful journey!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl
Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl

This recipe is the perfect harmony of tradition and flavors. If you are searching for a traditional Jewish stew that has been passed down from generation to generation, then look no further. This slow-cooked stew is known as cholent and is the epitome of comfort food. The ingredients come together in a way that will make your taste buds dance.

One of the reasons why I love this recipe is because it is incredibly versatile. You can customize it to your liking by adding or subtracting any ingredients that you prefer. Nevertheless, the base remains unchanged, which means that you will never be disappointed by its time-honored delicious flavors.

This recipe is also perfect for feeding a crowd or meal prepping for the week ahead. You can easily double or triple the recipe to ensure you have leftovers to enjoy later. Plus, it freezes wonderfully and only gets better with time.

If you have never tried traditional Jewish cuisine before, this recipe is an excellent place to start. It highlights some of the classic flavors found in Jewish cooking, such as sweet paprika, honey, and dried thyme.

Overall, this slow-cooked cholent stew will transport you back in time with every bite. It is hearty, comforting, and full of flavor that will leave you yearning for more.

Ingredient List

 The layers of meat, potatoes, and beans make this Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent a feast for the eyes and the stomach.
The layers of meat, potatoes, and beans make this Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent a feast for the eyes and the stomach.

Here are the ingredients you will need to create this traditional Jewish cholent:

For the stew:

  • 2 cups of Pearl Barley
  • 2-3 Potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 1.5 pounds Beef Brisket, cut into chunks
  • 1 can (15.5 oz) of White Beans, drained and rinsed

Spices and flavorings:

  • 4 cups of Water
  • 4 tablespoons of Butter
  • 1 tablespoon of Sweet Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of Dried Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper

For the kneidl:

  • 1 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons Honey

The Recipe How-To

 Knead your way to comfort food perfection with these fluffy Kneidl dumplings.
Knead your way to comfort food perfection with these fluffy Kneidl dumplings.

Now that we have all of our ingredients ready, let’s start making this traditional Jewish stew.

Step 1: Preparing the Beef Brisket and Vegetables

  • First, we need to prep the beef brisket by cutting it into medium cubes.
  • Next, we’ll dice up three garlic cloves and three onions.
  • After that, we can also dice up two peeled potatoes.

Step 2: Preparing the Barley and Beans

  • In a large bowl, rinse 1 cup of pearl barley with cold water.
  • Add the rinsed barley into a pot with enough water (about 4 cups).
  • Let it boil for about 10 minutes then turn off the heat and drain the barley.
  • Drain one can of white beans.

Step 3: Combining All Ingredients Together

  • In a slow cooker or a heavy-bottomed ovenproof dish, put in the cooked barley and white beans.
  • Then add in the cubed beef brisket, diced garlic cloves and onions, diced potatoes, one bay leaf, one tablespoon of dried thyme, two teaspoons of sweet paprika, two tablespoons of honey, two teaspoons of salt, one teaspoon of black pepper and enough water to cover all ingredients.
  • Give it a good stir so that everything gets mixed well.

Step 4: Slow Cooking the Stew

  • If using a slow cooker, set it on low heat for at least 6 hours.
  • If using a heavy-bottomed ovenproof dish, preheat your oven to 250°F (120°C) and cook for at least 6 hours.

Step 5: Adding Kneidl Balls

  • While the stew is still hot and simmering, prepare some kneidl balls by mixing together half a cup of all-purpose flour with baking powder and salt.
  • Add two tablespoons of butter to this mixture and chop up half a bunch of parsley to mix in as well.
  • Mix well until you obtain kneidl dough texture.
  • Shape kneidl dough into small balls around an inch in diameter. Drop them into the stew.

Step 6: Final Touches

  • Continue cooking for another hour or until the kneidl balls are puffy and fully cooked.
  • Taste your cholent – if needed add more salt or pepper to taste.

Our delicious traditional Jewish stew is now ready to be served!

Substitutions and Variations

 This Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl recipe is a true labor of love, but your taste buds won't regret it.
This Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl recipe is a true labor of love, but your taste buds won’t regret it.

Variations are the spice of life, especially when it comes to cooking. If you are feeling adventurous, try one or more of these substitutions or variations in the traditional Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl Recipe:

1. Vegetarian: If you want a vegetarian twist, omit the beef brisket and use vegetarian beef substitute or mushrooms. Add additional vegetables like carrots, celery or parsnips.

2. Spicier: For a spicy kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper, some red pepper flakes or extra sweet paprika.

3. Tomato-Based: Swap out the water for canned tomatoes or tomato juice for a richer flavor. This variation also works well with Italian spices such as basil and oregano.

4. Beer-Based: Use dark ale in place of the water, along with some smoked paprika and thyme to complement the hearty beer taste.

5. Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free flour in place of all-purpose flour for kneidl recipe.

6. Healthier: Use turkey instead of beef brisket and low-fat butter.

7. Asian Twists: Add ginger, soy sauce, beef broth, bok choy and scallions to give it an Asian flair

When it comes to variations, don’t be afraid to experiment and create your own signature style of this slow cooked traditional Jewish stew.

Serving and Pairing

 The slow simmer of the Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent creates a savory aroma that will have your neighbors begging for an invitation.
The slow simmer of the Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent creates a savory aroma that will have your neighbors begging for an invitation.

When it comes to serving traditional Jewish cholent, there are several options to enhance its flavorful taste. This slow-cooked stew is usually served on Shabbat lunch or dinner, especially in cold winter days when it warms up your soul. It is perfect for feeding a crowd, and leftovers can be enjoyed throughout the week.

To serve this galician Jewish ghetto cholent and kneidl recipe, scoop out a generous portion of the cooked stew onto a warm plate. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley to add some color to the brown toned dish. Ensure you include various elements of the cholent in each scoop, like onions, potatoes, meat, and beans.

Cholent pairs well with challah bread, slices of garlic bread, or crusty baguettes for soaking up the rich sauce. Challah bread is a classic choice due to its texture that complements the rich meaty flavor of the stew perfectly.

For those looking to add an extra element to their meal or complete lunch or dinner, a side salad would make an excellent addition. A light and refreshing green salad with cucumbers and tomatoes drizzled with balsamic vinegar will balance out the richness of the cholent.

The traditional Jewish stew is best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea or soup. You can also serve it alongside a glass of red wine to elevate all its rich flavors. The full-bodied texture of red wine works magic by complimenting the beef brisket’s robust taste and enhancing its already rich flavor.

This delicious Jewish stew can feed many mouths without having to pair it with any other additional dishes as it is filling and packs enough nutritional value in one pot depending on your preference of ingredients selection. So serve your galician Jewish ghetto cholent and kneidl recipe as the highlight at your next Shabbat lunch or dinner gathering!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 These Kneidl dumplings might be small, but they pack a big flavor punch.
These Kneidl dumplings might be small, but they pack a big flavor punch.

One of the best things about this Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl recipe is that it can be made ahead of time and reheated later. In fact, many people believe that cholent tastes even better the day after it’s cooked, as the flavors have had more time to meld together.

To make this dish ahead of time, simply follow the recipe as written and let it cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. When you’re ready to serve, reheat the cooked stew gently in a pot on low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

If you have leftovers, store them in a covered container in the fridge for up to four days or freeze them for up to three months. When reheating from frozen, it’s best to thaw the cholent in the fridge overnight before reheating gently in a saucepan on low heat.

One important thing to keep in mind: because this is a slow-cooked stew, the meat and vegetables can become quite soft with prolonged cooking and re-heating. To preserve their texture, I recommend reheating this dish once or twice at most. If you need to freeze any leftovers after reheating once, be aware that they may not hold up as well upon thawing and reheating again.

In conclusion, making this traditional Jewish stew ahead of time is easy and convenient – just remember to take it slow when reheating to ensure that you get the best possible results.

Tips for Perfect Results

When making this slow-cooked Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl stew, it’s important to pay attention to each step, as even the smallest details can make a big difference in the final outcome. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the tastiest and most authentic traditional Jewish stew:

Firstly, be sure to season your beef brisket generously with salt and pepper before searing it. This is important not only for flavor, but also for creating a delicious crust on the surface of the meat that will add depth of flavor to your cooked stew.

Secondly, don’t be afraid to enrich the stew with a good quality beef stock instead of water if you want an extra layer of flavor throughout. You can also drop some bay leaf, dried thyme or other herbs in the broth for an earthy and herbal taste.

Thirdly, be patient when cooking. Slow cooking is what makes Cholent so perfect; it allows all the ingredients and flavors blend together in perfect harmony. Therefore it requires you keep patience and let it cook low and slow for hours until all the ingredients are melting in your mouth.

Finally, consider adding more honey or sweet paprika if you prefer your Cholent slightly sweeter or spicier than what is written in the recipe. Don’t forget to add salt at the end of the cooking process as per your taste preference.

Follow these tips and you’ll be sure to have a hearty pot of Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl Stew that’s bursting with flavor!


As you prepare to try this unique Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent recipe, you may have a few questions in mind. Well, as a chef who is passionate about sharing his recipes, I have anticipated your questions and prepared some helpful answers that will ensure that you make the most of this traditional Jewish stew. So, read on to discover some useful tips and insights into making a delicious slow-cooked stew that will leave your taste buds yearning for more.

What is the best meat for cholent?

When preparing cholent, it’s essential to select the proper meat to create a rich, full flavor. Look for cuts of meat that are high in fat and softness, such as beef shin or flanken. Additionally, try adding some marrow bones to enhance the taste. For a distinct flavor, consider incorporating pastrami. If you prefer meat that gradually dissolves in your mouth, use cheek meat and cook it slowly over low heat.

What makes this dish special cholent?

Cholent, a meat and bean stew, has a fascinating origin in Jewish cuisine. It was invented out of the need to respect the Jewish law, which forbids cooking on Shabbat. Jewish chefs came up with a brilliant solution of preparing it in sturdy pots that simmered slowly throughout the night in a low-heat oven. This resulted in a delicious and hearty feast that could be enjoyed on Shabbat without breaking any religious rules.

Is cholent a traditional Jewish stew?

Cholent is a savory Jewish stew that has been passed down through generations. Its origin can be traced back to Jewish Sabbath laws, which prohibit work and the use of flames from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. This led to the creation of a slow-cooked dish that could be prepared beforehand and left to simmer overnight without tending to it.

Is cholent a Sephardic?

Cholent, also known as hamin in Sephardic households, is a renowned and crucial component of Jewish cuisine.

Bottom Line

After following this recipe and getting a taste of the traditional Jewish stew, there is no doubt you will be hooked. The flavors captivate your taste buds, providing a dish that leaves you feeling satisfied and comforted. The Cholent and Kneidl Recipe is perfect for those rainy days or nights when you want something warm and hearty to cozy up with.

This slow-cooked stew requires patience but worth the wait as you savor each bite while soaking up the warmth of the fire or snuggling on the couch. Make it your own by trying out different variations and substitutions, as mentioned above.

Don’t forget to invite some loved ones over to share and enjoy this dish with them. It is an ultimate comfort food experience as you get a chance to bond over some good, old-fashioned cooking made to perfection.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead, grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and let’s get cooking! You won’t regret experiencing the delectable flavors and memories that come with every bite of this traditional Jewish stew.

Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl

Galician Jewish Ghetto Cholent and Kneidl Recipe

This recipe comes from my grandmother's recipe box. She collected recipes from all over the world and this one comes from East Galicia, now a part of Western Ukraine.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 hrs 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Jewish (Galician)
Calories 1099.6 kcal


  • 3/4 cup white beans
  • 3/4 cup brown beans
  • 1 1/2 lbs beef brisket, boned
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 6 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons water, cold
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, finely chopped


  • Soak the beans in cold water overnight, then drain.
  • Cut the meat into cubes and brown in the oil on all sides. Remove the meat and fry the onions until soft and then the garlic.
  • Return the meat to the pan, add the soaked beans and the remaining ingredients, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper.
  • Finally, cover with water to level of 1 inch over ingredients, bring to a boil and leave to simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  • In the meantime, prepare a dough out of the kneidl ingredients, shape into an oblong dumpling and carefully place on top of the meat and beans when they are done simmering.
  • Cover the pan tightly with a piece of aluminum foil between the lid and the pan and slow cook in the oven at 210-250F for 10 hours or overnight. DO NOT STIR!
  • Before serving, slice the kneidl and serve with the stew.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 538gCalories: 1099.6kcalCarbohydrates: 103.5gProtein: 37gFat: 60.8gSaturated Fat: 26.5gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 269.6mgFiber: 17.7gSugar: 7.2g
Keyword Easy, European, Kosher, One-Dish Meal, Oven, Stew
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