Soul Warming Stew

>> Feb 21, 2010

Chulent is a dish for which people have taken poetic license. Each family has their own version of how the dish is constructed. For example, growing up in my house (my mother felt that red meat was bad for our health) my mother would fill a crock-pot with zucchini, yellow squash, sweet potatoes, and chicken, which was not Chulent, it was chicken squash stew! My Mother said she was just watching out for our health and wellbeing and that one day we would thank her… stay tuned for stories of our Sunday family trips to the egg white factory!

Alas I got married and was privy to the seemingly authentic and wholly scrumptious Chulent that abounds my in-laws house every Saturday morning. I cannot help but share this recipe with you, I cannot think of a more warming meal on a cold Wintry Shabbat morning. B’Teavon!

My Mother in Laws Chulent

1 small rack of ribs (2-3 bones)

4 small potatoes  

1 cup barley                                                    
1\2 cup wheat berries

2 Tbsp ketchup

1Tbsp salt

1 Tsp pepper

3 Tbsp onion soup mix or 1 package soup mix

Mix everything together in a crock-pot and cover with water. My Mother in law says that she puts it up on Thursday night before going to bed on low, which is the low and slow way of creating a delectable dish that she presents at lunch Saturday. If you prefer to put it up Friday afternoon that will be delicious as well. B’Teavon!

A Few Helpful Tips on Making Chulent
1. Uncle Yitzy says - “if you don't want to use a cooking bag when cooking the Chulent, spray the crock pot very well with Pam, in this way the Chulent will not stick to the crock-pot” making cleanup a cinch!
2. Use a hearty cut of meat that won’t dry out as this dish cooks (lean meats don’t hold up as well in a dish that cooks for 24-36 hours). I have tried many Chulent’s over the years, the best are the ones made with a hearty piece of meat on a bone (preferably ribs).
3. If you want to infuse a bit more flavor into the Chulent add a bay leaf and a large sweet potato.
4. If your going really Chulent wild you could add a can of beer to your Chulent. Note use a light golden beer for best results.
5. Our friend Jeff recommends adding cocktail wieners and some bbq sauce for maxx flavor.

Did you know?
Chulent is a traditional [Jewish] stew simmered overnight and eaten for lunch on the Sabbath. Chulent was developed over the centuries to conform with Jewish religious laws that prohibit cooking on the Sabbath. Ashkenazi-style Chulent was first mentioned ca.1180 in the writings of Rabbi Yitzhak of Vienna. In the shtetls of Eastern Europe and other areas where Jews lived, before the advent of electricity and cooking gas, a pot with the assembled but uncooked ingredients was brought to the local baker before sunset on Fridays. The baker would put the pot with the Chulent in his oven, which was always kept fired, and families would come by to pick up their cooked Chulent on Saturday mornings on their way home from Synagogue enabling the family a hot hale and hearty cooked meal every Shabbat. Nowadays we no longer lug our pots to the local baker before sundown on Fridays,rather we combine all of the ingredients before Shabbat in a slow cooker (crock-pot) and let it simmer on low until the following day. It is the quinticential ‘set it and forget it’ type meal, though this meal is truly unforgetable!


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