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,



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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  1. Avraham says:

    Hi Shaby

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I am looking forward to trying it lichvod shabbat kodesh. Quick question – what does the beer do? Also, do you have a picture of how the cholent looks after it has cooked?

  2. The beer adds body and flavour (and gluten) 🙂 And nobody takes pictures of chollent… it’s tasty but it just ain’t pretty. 😉

  3. Avraham says:

    hmmm….I don’t mind the look of cholent :). Just to get a rough idea, is the sauce of your cholent reddish….i love the reddish sauce/look of cholent more than the plain brownish one

  4. Rachel says:

    Hi, What are beef cheeks? The actual cheeks of the cow? Can I use other cuts of meat, or is this what really make it taste good? Don’t think I’ve ever seen beef cheeks in the store.

  5. Yitzhak Cohen says:

    I’ve prepared this marvelous cholent recipe about half a dozen times since I first found it. I’ve received rave reviews from our Shabbat guests. The only major change I made is the addition of 1/2-tsp cayenne pepper. Thank you! Tu b’Shevat sameach! – Yitzhak in Silver Spring, MD

  6. Izy Hemi says:

    The salt “3 tbsp” was too much. Also before you start make sure your crock pot is at least 7 or 8 quart in size.

Your thoughts?