Recently Rabbi Rosner taught us how to make (meatless) Cholent. We filled a couple of slow cookers on a Friday and served up the warm and aromatic stew after the Saturday service. Possibly for the first time in 66 years (that’s how old the Synagogue is) the community was able to get a taste of this centuries’ old Sabbath stew. There were no complaints (scroll to the end for some reviews). We shall need to double the quantities next time.
Not only has Rabbi Rosner shared his recipe below, he has promised to tell us about the history of Cholent which he researched as part of his Rabbinic thesis.
Rabbi Rosner’s Vegetable Cholent
This is so easy to make; it’s delicious, nutritious, uses cheap ingredients and ensures a hot centrepiece for Shabbat lunch that can feed a crowd with minimal effort.
The quantities are approximate. The following should roughly fill a 6.5 litre slow cooker.
- 2 large brown onions
- 1kg white potatoes
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 parsnip
- 1 carrot
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- 1 cup mixed beans (e.g. kidney beans; navy beans; cranberry beans – you can buy cholent mixes)
- 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of paprika
- 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
- Generous squeeze of honey
- Vegetarian Kishke (can be bought from kosher shops)
- Stock (use vegetarian “chicken flavoured” powder e.g. Osem brand)
- Secret ingredient
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil
- Eggs (optional)
Cholent is traditionally cooked for a very long time, from before Shabbat comes in on a Friday till lunchtime on the Saturday. It can be cooked on a normal stove over a very low heat. A large slow cooker or crockpot is also a convenient method – just put the ingredients in the cooker, turn on and leave. To avoid a sticky pan, line the slow cooker pan with aluminium foil or a liner before you start. You should also cover the knob with silver foil once you switch on to respect the laws regarding adjusting heat sources on Shabbat.
Kosher shops sell cholent bean mixes, Kishke and “chicken flavoured” stock but none of these are necessary to make a delicious cholent.
Peel and chop the onions into quarters. Warm the olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the onions for a few minutes. Then add the paprika and garlic powder and continue cooking till the kitchen fills with the aroma.
Peel and chop the potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnip and carrot into large chunks. Add the vegetables to the crockpot together with the washed beans and barley. Add the tomatoes, a generous squeeze of honey, the secret ingredient, with a generous hand, a liberal sprinkling of stock powder, salt and pepper. Give everything a stir before adding water to cover.
Unwrap the kishke from its foil. Aerate the foil using a knife to make small holes and then wrap the kishke back in the foil and place directly on top of the cholent. This will allow it to flavour the cholent during cooking. Finally, if you wish, add washed uncooked eggs to sit on the top of the mixture – these will hardboil and take on some of the flavour of the cholent.
Switch the crockpot on before Shabbat falls and cook until Saturday lunch. Remove the eggs and shell them. Remove the kishke, unwrap and slice it to be used as an accompaniment. Enjoy.
Tastes great with a potato or noodle kugel.
“It was so warming to have a hot bowl of delicious Cholent after the service. I am a cook and extremely nosey, so I have to confess I was in the kitchen with Lynne and Liz beforehand peering into the pot and we all agreed on the addition of a little salt – which perfected it!” Camilla
“It was different to see a bowl of hot food on Shabbat. I wasn’t too keen on the Cholent but the Kugel was really nice and I also got to have a couple of brownies too!” Scarlett, aged 12
“A welcome innovation, hopefully encouraging more people to linger round the Kiddush table.” Anne