While it’s 70+ degrees here in Los Angeles, my family back in Chicago and Pittsburgh are currently experiencing snow. Same goes for some parts of New England too. It’s April mind you. If you happen to be snow-bound and looking for a meal that will stick to your ribs while you bundle up, cholent is it. If you haven’t heard of cholent, that’s okay. Until recently I hadn’t heard of it either.
This cholent recipe is inspired [and dedicated] to one of my favorite people in the entire world – cousin Rachelle. When she was visiting a few months ago we were talking about this blog and slow cooker recipes when she mentioned cholent. My husband then told me when he lived in Israel 20 years ago cholent was one of the more frequent meals he had when visiting with his Orthodox family there. Being orthodox, they observe Shabbat so they cannot cook Friday evening through sunset Saturday; they have to find meals that can be cooked slow and low for extremely long periods of time. Cholent was one of them. As soon as I heard of this, I immediately thought this would be perfect for a slow cooker. I was right, it is. I have to warn you that this is an extremely hearty meal that uses beef, potatoes and a whopping 3 different kinds of beans. Apparently there are a lot of different ways to make cholent. Since this is was my first time I wanted to keep the recipe simple and so I went with a basic version. After a long pinterest search, I settled on this recipe from NYT Cooking. I couldn’t find the exact beans used in their recipe but from what I’ve read about cholent, that really doesn’t matter. For the potato, I suggest you use a waxy potato like red potatoes or new potatoes. Since they are generally more firm, they will hold their shape better during the long cooking process.
- Pre-soak the beans overnight
- Add potatoes and onion to slow cooker
- Add beef
- Add barley and beans
- Add broth, honey, paprika, salt and pepper
- 1 lb boneless beef short ribs, cut in 1½-inch chunks
- 1 lb potatoes, cut into 1½-inch chunks
- 1 onion, peeled and cut into 1½-inch chunks
- ¾ cup pearl barley
- ⅓ cup dried kidney beans (presoaked)
- ⅓ cup dried great northern white beans (presoaked)
- ⅓ cup dried pinto beans (presoaked)
- 3 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp paprika
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Add potatoes, the onion and then the short ribs to the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Scatter the barley and the beans on top.
- Pour broth, honey and sprinkle with the paprika, salt, and pepper.
- Add enough water to cover all the ingredients.
- Cook on low for 12 to 15 hours, stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary.
- *For those who observe Shabbat, do not stir or add more water during the cooking.
While hearty and simple, I was pleasantly shocked at how much flavor this had. Personally I think this would be just as good sans the meat. As I mentioned in at the beginning of this post, there a lot of different variations of cholent and I plan on making them so stay tuned.