Since Biblical times, the Jewish people have spread and settled across the globe, adjusting their food to the region in which they have been settling. Through the years, a myriad of ethnic regional dishes was made Kosher in order to meet the Jewish rules of purity eating. This implies it is true that “Jewish food” is really global cuisine. There aren’t many dishes that are exclusively Jewish. Bagels? Bagels? Polish baked bread that was originally made to celebrate Lent and later adopted by Jews. Gefilte fish? It is a German dish that is popular with Yiddish cooks. However, it is among the few meals that are 100% and totally Jewish.
Cholent is unique Jewish. It was invented due to the fact that Jewish law prohibits the preparation of meals on Shabbat. To comply with this restriction, Jewish cooks began to prepare stews of beans and meat in large, heavy-duty pots that would simmer slowly in an oven with low heat for the night. The stew would be prepared on a Friday evening before sunset and cooked it in a small amount and then put it in the oven to cook all evening. So there would be no need to start an open flame or ignite a stove during the duration of Shabbat and they could simply take the stew out of the oven after mealtime, after which it will be prepared and ready to serve.
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According to The New Jewish Holiday Cookbook by Gloria Kaufer Greene, the term cholent could have been used in the medieval era of Europe:
“The medieval term cholent (with the ‘ch’ sound like “chair”) could have come via the French chaud-lent which means “warm slowly” or, perhaps it is in it being the Yiddish shul ende that describes how cholent is served during the’synagogue’s end. ‘”
My friend, the food historian Gil Marks, refutes this idea that shul end is the word’s root as cholent was popular in France prior to when Yiddish became a language around the 1200s. in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, it is claimed that the word originated from French warm (hot) or its cousin, the Spanish”excellent” (warm) because the dish is believed to have been brought into France via Spain. Some think that”cholent” is originated from the Hebrew she’lan which translates to “that rested” and refers to the pot that was left in the oven overnight.
Although no one knows the exact meaning behind the word”cholent,” it is undoubtedly among the top adored foods in Jewish food.
Shabbat stews are prepared across the globe with different methods and under a myriad of names. Here are some of the numerous kinds of the cholent stew:
Schalet is the Yiddish word that means cholent and is mentioned within the German poem that appears at the start on this blog. Schalet is a reference to an Eastern European-style cholent made with beans, meat barley, meat, and occasionally Kishke. The spice level is usually low; typically just salt and pepper are utilized.
Hamin/Hamim/Chamim/Chamin – From the Hebrew word “hot.” The Sephardic version of cholent is known as hamin. The most popular in Israel Hamin is typically made from chicken instead of meat and is usually made with eggs. It’s additionally spiced with more exotic spices as compared to Eastern European cholent.
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Dafina and Skhina – In Spain as well as the Maghreb and Morocco Cholent is often known as dafina, or skhina. It is typically made with chickpeas and meat potatoes, eggs and potatoes along with spices that are native in the Maghreb.
Osh Savo Osh Savo – Sweet and spicy Shabbat rice stew that is served by Bukharan Jews.
Tabeet & Pacha – Iraqi Jews have two well-known Shabbat food items. Tabeet is whole chickens filled with rice, herbs and spices. Pacha is a tripe filled by lamb and seasonings as well as rose petals. Both are cooked slowly over night in preparation for Shabbat that makes them different ethnic variants on the cholent tradition.
2 1/2 lbs of white potatoes peeled and cut into halves (for smaller slow cookers 2 pounds)
2 whole onions cut into pieces
2 1/2 lbs of beef stew meat or brisket cut into pieces (for smaller slow cookers you can use 2 pounds)
2 bone marrow
1 cup of dried beans – lima chickpeas, pinto, chickpeas or red beans (not kidney) or a mix of them
1/2 cup fine-grain kasha or pearl barley (optional for those who are gluten-free don’t make use of pearl barley)
3 whole cloves of garlic
6 eggs (optional)
1/2 tsp black pepper (if spice sensitive use 1/4 tsp)
1 Quart Low sodium broth for chicken
1 tbsp of kosher salt
1 1/2 tsp 1 1/2 tsp
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (if you are sensitive to spice, use only a small amount)
1 kishke (optional We do not add this but many families love it)
Also, you will require the following: 6-8 quarts slow cooker
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NOTE: Beans used in this dish will begin to soften and not require any prior soaking because of the slow cooking process. However, they’ll be much easier to digest by a short bath prior to cooking. For this, you need to place the beans in the bottom of the pot and cover them with water. They will grow and over the size of a football Therefore, make sure you cover them with several inches of water in order to accommodate expansion. The beans should be brought to a boil for five minutes, and then take them off the cooking. Allow them to soak in the water that was used to cook them for one hour, then drain them and rinse prior to proceeding with the recipe. Be aware that it is not recommended to slow cook kidney beans.
in a big slow cooker (the bigger the more efficient! ) Place the potatoes in one layer on the lower part of the cooker.
Sprinkle the onions on top of the potatoes.
The beef should be placed in one layer on top of the potatoes and onions. Put the two bones of marrow inside the meat. If you’re planning to add a kishke, this is the best moment to place it in the cooker.
Rinse the beans and clean them Check for any stones or other impurities. If using kasha or barley make the same process as the other grains. Spread with beans (raw or pre-soaked) and any other grains you wish to sprinkle on surface of the meat. Put the three cloves of garlic into the meat, spacing them evenly. Sprinkle the entire mixture with black pepper.
If you are using eggs, wash them thoroughly before tucking eggs into your meat. In a four-cup container make a mixture of soup broth that is low in sodium, kosher salt turmeric, paprika, cumin and cayenne.
Then pour the liquid on top of the cholent. Add more water until all the meat and beans are completely covered. In our case, it’s typically an additional cup of water for our slow cooker. it’s going to vary. I generally add more liquid when using grains as they’ll absorb the liquid.
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Cover the slow cooker with a lid. Cook at a low temperature for up to 16 hours. Monitor the cooking process frequently adding more water, and stirring it around to see if it’s too dry. Most cookers will automatically change to warm once the cooking is done. If not allow this, place it in the oven to warm until you are ready to serve.It may appear a little like a medieval kitchen when it’s finished cooking! Do not worry, simply look around and you’ll find that it’s cooked to perfection beneath the surface. Peel the eggs prior to serving the Cholent.
For cooking this dish in an oven, you need to layer the ingredients in a heavy 7 to 8 9 quart Dutch oven. Make sure that you have enough liquid in the oven to cover all the ingredients. Cover the pot with a lid and cook cholent to 200° F for 12 to 16 hours.