Cholent Recipe

Cook your own Sabbath stew.

  1. Yield: Serves 6
  2. Prep: 45 minutes
  3. Cook: 12 hours, 0 minutes
  4. Total: 12 hours, 45 minutes

Reprinted with permission from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, published by Knopf.

I had watched Shmulik and his wife Carmela, owners of the restaurant Shmulik on Herzl Street in Tel Aviv, demonstrate cholent and kishke at the Jerusalem Gastronomic Congress in 1992, and I enjoyed the two dishes at a party at their restaurant. The following is based on their recipe.


  1. 3 Tablespoons light vegetable oil
  2. Salt and pepper
  3. 1/2 cup (100 g) pearl barley (optional)
  4. 1/2 lb (250 g) dried white haricot or butter beans, soaked for an hour
  5. 2 lbs (1 kg) potatoes, peeled, whole if small, quartered if medium
  6. 2 marrow bones (optional)
  7. 2 large onion, sliced
  8. 3-5 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  9. 2 lbs (1kg) fatty beef-brisket, breast, or rib


In a large heavy pot or casserole with a tightly fitting lid, brown the meat in the oil. Remove it, and fry the onions until soft. Add the garlic and fry until the aroma rises. Return the meat to the pot, add the marrow bones, and arrange the potatoes, beans, and barley around it, sprinkling each layer with salt and pepper.

Cover with water and bring to a boil. Remove the scum, then put the lid on and leave in the lowest oven (225F; 110C) overnight. Remove the lid at the table, so that everyone can get the first whiff of the appetizing smell which emanates.

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Claudia Roden is one of England's leading food writers. Her works include the James Beard Award winning The Book of Jewish Food and A Book of Middle Eastern Food.

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