Winter in Minnesota means cold cold weather and this crowd pleasing cholent recipe is perfect to warm you up. Nothing beats back the cold like a hot bowl of soup or stew, but that can be a little tricky if you don’t cook on Shabbat. That’s where the simplicity and ease of a crock pot comes in handy. You can prep everything in just a few minutes on Friday and then set the slow cooker on a timer to start overnight so it will be ready when you are on Saturday. Don’t hesitate to invite some friends to spend the afternoon, this recipe easily serves 8-10.
This recipe is super simple to make, and very forgiving, so it is hard to mess it up; and if you want to get creative, you can add almost anything to it that you like. Sometimes I like to add turnips, sweet potatoes, or even garlic for a change of pace (peel the cloves and add them in whole, no chopping required). Once in a while I have even put in eggs…leave them in the shell and they will end up as hard boiled eggs. When I have the eggs in it, I like to serve it with a little horseradish on the side; that adds a very different element to the whole dish and makes it a very filling meal.
Usually when you use dried beans you need to soak them overnight so they soften before you cook them. But this recipe is going to cook long enough that you can get away with just putting them in right out of the pantry. I also like using kasha to thicken this because it is a simple whole grain and is healthier for you than using flour. Plus, it gives the whole thing a nice rustic flavor.
Crock Pot Cholent
- 2 onions, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 6 carrots, sliced
- 2 pounds stew meat
- 1 can (14 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
- ½ pound dried white beans
- Big handful kasha
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tsp +/- paprika
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1-2 cups water
- 4 potatoes cut into chunks
Spread the carrots, onions, and celery on the bottom of a crock pot. Put the stew meat on top of that and then scatter in the tomatoes, beans, and kasha on top of the meat. Sprinkle over some salt, fresh ground pepper, and paprika. Pour the beef broth and water over the top just to cover the meat and beans, and then put a final layer of the potatoes. Turn the crock pot on low for about 10 hours…this is very forgiving, so if it is a little longer, or shorter, it will still come out fine. If you are going to be a whole lot longer, you can turn it to warm and let it sit for a few hours until you are ready for dinner.
When I make this for Shabbat, I prep everything in the crock pot insert and put it in the fridge before Shabbat. I usually set my timer to turn on overnight and before I go to bed I take the insert out of the fridge and put it in the crock pot. That way it has time to warm up before the heating element comes on. Then we have a hot lunch ready when we get home. If you want to have this for dinner later in the day, set the timer to turn on in the morning and take the insert out of the fridge at least an hour before the crock pot is set to turn on so you are not putting the cold ceramic insert on the heat right away.