September 21, 2009
Eat More Cholent
My resolution for the New Year is to make more cholent.
Cholent is the traditional Sabbath stew, assembled and put in the oven (or on the stove, or in a crock pot) on Friday before the Sabbath, then cooked at a low temperature until Sabbath lunch.
I made one for Rosh Hashana, and remembered what a difference a good cholent can make in your life.
Having a big pot of stew cooking all night and day perfumes your house, whets your appetite for hours., Cholent is gastronomic foreplay. It demands that you take time on Saturday for a big meal. No errands. No Home Depot. No running off to a movie. It demands you invite friends over: try making a cholent for two, or even four. And it demands you slow down and relax the rest of the afternoon—cholent demands a post-meal nap. It is healthy eating, but it is not light eating.
These are all good things as far as I’m concerned—good smells, good food, long meals, a good nap—and cholent is the Way.
I prefer a Moroccan style cholent, called a dafina, or the more general Sephardic style, called Hamin. Both have more intricate spicing than Ashkenazic. Keep in mind: whichever you choose, this is as easy as cooking gets. If you can throw clothes in a suitcase, you can throw ingredients in a pot, and that’s cholent.
Here’s my recipe:
For a vegetarian version, leave out the meat. No one will starve.