Cholent (pronounced: cholnlnt) is a bean dish served Saturday after Shabbat services. From the tradition of not cooking on Shabbat, a hearty baked bean dish was left to embers Friday nights. The recipe is called Hammeen by west Asian Jews, meaning hot. The European etymology is possibly similar, from the French for hot, chaud.
Cholent is really a whole megillah, if you know what I mean. Which is to say, it’s more of a lifestyle than a recipe.
Cholent: The Process
Wednesday: Invite friends for shabbat lunch. There are no small cholents.
Sometime Thursday, wash and soak a combination of hearty beans, at least 3 varieties (lima bean, red, pinto, aduki, navy, black) and a grain (barley is traditional; for GF diets, use rice) So roughly 3 parts beans to one part grain.
Friday afternoon, layer a generous amount of the ingredients below, in order, in a slow cooker or heavy pot:
Chunked large onions (3-4)
Chunked potatoes, sweet potatoes (some add: carrots, meat, eggs) 3~4 cups
Rinsed beans and grain. Even the surface. Tuck a few bay leaves around the sides of the pot.
You’re almost done. Next add a huge astonishing enormous amount of: Salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Drizzle olive oil over the seasonings layer.
Next, pour water into the pot (along the side; do not disturb the seasoning layer*) just up to the surface of the beans.
Boil medium hard for 2-4 hours, adding water, just up to the surface of the beans, as needed.
After this step, the beans will be soft and we just want to slow cook it overnight. Set the crock pot to 200 degrees, or a very low flame if you are using a heavy pot. You do not want to boil it anymore, and we are not going to stir this at all.
If you did this right, in the morning (around 3AM), the top layer will be a little dark and crunchy. Keep warm in your crock pot until serving.
PS: I sneak some for breakfast! You can flatten out the crusty bits and just take a nice spoonful from a corner. Yummy.
PPS: Causes flatulence
PPPS: Arrange for an afternoon nap, if possible.
*If you stir or disturb the layers, the Cholent Fairies do not come