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Apr 2015 28

cholent competition winners!

I am truly humbled to have won the first annual Village Shul “Top Chef Cholent Cook-Off”! I am thrilled to share my recipe for the cholent that beat out 11 formidable opponents (all of the competing cholents I sampled were unique and delicious).

This Moroccan-style cholent contains no artificial or questionable ingredients… it may not help you lose weight but it’s wholesome and real. It’s also fabulously easy to make. The ingredients are placed in layers, exactly as is (no frying or browning or soaking required). So what makes this cholent so good? As with any Jewish dish, the secret to a transcendent cholent is to say “lichvod Shabbos kodesh” as you add each ingredient. Trust me on this.

Shabbat Shalom,

Shaby

 

You will need

1 c pot barley

1 c wheat berries (hard wheat)

1 1/2 c dried chickpeas (I don’t bother to soak since they cook for such a long time)

1 kg beef cheek, trimmed and cut into chunks

500 g flanken, cut into chunks

4 beef marrow bones

5-6 medium yellow-fleshed potatoes (about 500 g total), roughly chopped

1 meduim sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped

1/2 c dehydrated minced onion

1/3 c onion powder

1/3 c garlic powder

3 tbsp salt

3 tbsp paprika

2 tbsp cumin

2 tbsp brown sugar (packed)

1 1/2 tsp chili flakes (can use pepper)

3/4 tsp cinnamon

3 tbsp canola or olive oil

1 bottle beer

9 c water

 

1. Begin by layering the barley, wheat berries and chickpeas in the bottom of the crockpot.

2. Add the meat in another layer.

3. Place the marrow bones on top of the meat and nestle the potatoes and sweet potatoes around the bones for the third layer.

4. Sprinkle all of the spices, salt and sugar over the top layer. This doesn’t have to be perfectly even as it will get stirred before serving. Pour the oil, beer and water over everything.

5. Set the crockpot to low and allow the cholent to cook for at least 12 hours (though typically I start it a few hours before Shabbos begins and I let it keep going until I serve it on Shabbos afternoon).

6. Before serving, remove the crockpot from the base and give the cholent a thorough mix to ensure that all of the ingredients are combined.

Serves 8-10

 

 

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Jan 2014 19

When it comes to chollent, I prefer to take the easiest route possible. And it makes sense – after spending 3 days shopping, prepping, cooking and baking up a fantastic Shabbos dinner, the last thing I want to do is to make another big production out of lunch. When the time comes to put together a chollent, I don’t even want to cut up onions or brown my meat – I throw it in frozen – that’s how lazy I get. I’ve been tweaking my personal chollent recipe for 5 years, and I’m now satisfied that it’s both as easy and as delicious as can be. The result is kind of a cross between ashkenazi chollent and Moroccan dafina.

Bear in mind that this is a recipe for the type of “little of this, handful of that” cooking that doesn’t easily translate into cups and tablespoons. As such, its success depends on a variety of factors – especially when it comes down to the all-important liquid/solid ratio. Some prefer a soupy (aka “spoony”) chollent, while others go for a “forky” consistency. After your first go at it, you may find that you need to adjust the amount of water based on your particular preferences/crockpot/chollent start time. Anyway, the whole process of throwing this together takes no more than four minutes – baruch Hashem!

You will need:

3/4 c barley
3/4 c wheat berries (aka hard wheat or soft wheat)
1/2 c dried chickpeas
about 675 g (1 1/2 lbs) flanken or beef cheek meat
1 medium red-skinned potato, cubed (no need to peel)
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 beef marrow bone

2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 1/2 tbsp cumin
1 1/2 tbsp hot hungarian paprika (or regular paprika with some cayenne pepper added)
1 tsp pepper
dash cinnamon

2 tbsp honey
1 bottle beer (I use a dark ale – not that I know anything about beer)
approximately 6 c water (for a soupier chollent use about 8 cups)

1. Place all of the dry ingredients into a slow-cooker, layering each ingredient in the order they appear in the recipe. In other words, you should have a layer of grains/beans, a layer of meat, and a layer of potatoes and marrow bones. Throw the spices on top, then pour the honey and beer over everything. Add about 6-8 cups of water, or simply fill the pot until everything is covered with 1-2 inches of water.

2. Set the crockpot to low, and leave it to cook about 24 hours in total. (If the meat goes in frozen, then either set the crockpot to high for a few hours and then turn it down to low just before Shabbos, or start your chollent in the morning.)

Serves 6