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Does anyone have a one-pot recipe for Shabbos lunch that will replace the boring Cholent?

Please: no beans, no kugels. Possibly something with chicken and dumplings (I don't have a good pareve recipe for that). Something interesting. I'm thinking stove rather than crockpot.

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  1. there is a new cookbook by laura frankel called jewish slow cookier recipes that has recipes to use with your cholent pot. We made a delicious dish that was cubed meat and used ale.

    1. I've been thinking about cassoulet for Shabbos. Found this recipe for a crockpot cassoulet here, using chicken instead of duck: http://southernfood.about.com/od/croc...

      I have *not* tried this, as the cassoulet is still in the convincing-my-wife-to-let-me-try-it stage. But it sure looks good.

      7 Replies
      1. re: The Cameraman

        Arroz con pollo. It's easy and delicious. The only thing outside the pot that needs to be done is quickly browning the chicken first. We've done it on the stove and in a crockpot.

        1. re: DeisCane

          I am doing arroz con pollo in the end. I will be throwing in some sweet potatoes, butternut squash and ?asian five spice? I could use a recommendation for a kicker spice and/or veg to offset the carbs.

          1. re: cappucino

            How is that arroz con pollo if there are sweet potatoes, butternut squash and asian five spice? I like all those things but they don't make sense with ACP.

            1. re: DeisCane

              Yes. It made no sense other than that it was chicken and rice. The rice was mushy. I don't see how rice would work in a crockpot for close to 24 hours. THe husband liked the flavors and was ok with it. No one else was. I will try the North African recipe below, I guess.

          2. re: DeisCane

            can u post, step by step how u do your arroz con pollo

            1. re: DeisCane

              can you post your Arroz con pollo crock pot recipe. Thank you.

            2. re: The Cameraman

              I've seen this one. It's the beans that does it in for us. I would really like to get away from the beans.

              1. re: cheesecake17

                How do you leave spaghetti in a pot overnight? Doesn't it turn to mush?

                1. re: DeisCane

                  mush is probably the stage before burnt when all the moisture evaporates out

                    1. re: DeisCane

                      The cook in yeshiva made this all the time, whether on purpose or not I don't know.

                      1. re: DeisCane

                        to me luschun kugel is really burnt spaghetti

                    2. re: DeisCane

                      I don't leave it in a pot overnight. Cook the chicken and spagetti, mix shredded chicken with cooked spaghetti and marinara sauce. Put it in an oiled disposable pan and bake it till it's 'burnt.' On Shabbat to heat it up, we put it on the blech/warmer.

                      1. re: cheesecake17

                        this is the recipe for hamin macaroni , from sherri anski [ who literally wrote the book on Hamin in israel]

                        [one can get it translated online , no doubt [ from shum,pilpel vshemen zayit---the channel 1 food tv series]

                        8 שוקי עוף, או עוף שלם מחולק
                        1 חבילה (500 גרם) בוקטיני (אטריות עבות וחלולות)
                        1 כוס שמן

                        גרסאת הדפסה שילחו לחבר :אופן ההכנה

                        ממליחים את חלקי העוף ומניחים לחצי שעה. מבשלים את הפסטה במים רותחים ומומלחים לפי הוראות היצרן. מסננים ומעבירים לקערה. מחממים את השמן בקדרה שאפשר להניח על הכיריים ומשחימים את חלקי העוף יפה. מוציאים מהקדרה ומניחים על צלחת בצד. יוצקים את השמן שנותר בקדרה על הפסטה ומערבבים היטב. מרפדים את תחתית הקדרה בחצי מכמות הפסטה. מניחים עליה את חלקי העוף ומכסים בשארית הפסטה. יוצקים לקדרה חצי כוס מים. מבשלים 5 דקות על להבה גבוהה. מנמיכים את הלהבה לבינונית ומבשלים חצי שעה. מעמידים עד למחרת על פלטה של שבת, או מכניסים לתנור מחומם לחום נמוך (100 מעלות).

                        1. re: lacosta

                          8 chicken thighs, or a whole chicken cut into pieces
                          1 package (500 g / 1 lb) bucatini (thick, hollow noodles)
                          1 cup oil

                          Salt the chicken pieces, and leave them for half an hour.
                          Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Strain and transfer to a bowl.
                          Heat the oil in a pot that can be put on the stove, and brown the chicken pieces well. Take them out of the pot and put them on a plate on the side.
                          Pour the oil that remains in the pot onto the pasta, and mix well.
                          Line the bottom of the pot with half the pasta, put the chicken pieces on that, and cover with the rest of the pasta. Add half a cup of water.
                          Cook for 5 minutes on a high flame, then half an hour on a medium flame.
                          Let it stand until the next day on a Shabbat Plata, or else in the oven on a low heat (100 C / 200 F).

                        2. re: cheesecake17

                          see the hebrew below for the source

                          8 chicken or whole chicken divided
                          1 package (500 grams) Buakteini (thick, hollow noodles)
                          1 cup oil

                          Send to a friend Printable Version: Preparation

                          Salt the chicken and place half an hour. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to manufacturer's instructions. Drain and transfer to a bowl. Heat the oil in a pot on the stove you can put the chicken browned nicely. Remove the pot and place on a plate on the side. Pour the remaining oil in a pot of pasta and mix well. Line the bottom half of the pasta pot. Place the chicken on it and cover with remaining pasta. Pour casserole pot half glass of water. Cook 5 minutes on high flame. Lower the flame to medium and cook for half an hour. Place until the following Saturday on braces or oven heated to a low heat (100 degrees).

                          1. re: lacosta

                            The noodles don't turn into complete mush?

                            1. re: lacosta

                              That translation is seriously defective. I'll supply my own translation as a response to the original Hebrew.

                              1. re: zsero

                                that was a google translator, i didnt bother to re-read it....

                      2. I'm pretty sure I've posted this split pea soup recipe here before, but it's not showing up in the search. It's very hearty, and probably the cheapest Shabbos meal I ever make. This plus challah, and a salad if you like, is really a complete meal. I don't know if split peas are too bean-y for you, but if you prefer to make it in a pot on a blech rather than in a crockpot, I'm sure that'd word well.

                        Crock-Pot Split Pea Soup

                        3 medium onions, peeled
                        4 stalks celery
                        1 whole head of garlic, each clove peeled
                        1 pound split peas (about two cups)
                        1 package beef bones (neck bones are fine; a marrow bone or two makes it very rich)
                        1 1/2 tablespoons salt
                        Pepper to taste
                        1-2 large carrots, diced, optional
                        Small amount of smoked meat of your choice, optional.

                        Place onions, celery, and garlic in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then cook 20-30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then puree.
                        Place puree and remaining ingredients in a 5.5 quart crockpot. Fill with boiling water, cook on low.

                        1. As I've posted before, we do a Cuban Black Bean soup/stew (depends on the consistency when you get to it the next day - it's never the same twice) with home-smoked short ribs. The ribs fall apart overnight and the smokiness adds a lot of depth to the dish. We've never had any leftovers from this, it just disappears.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: ferret

                            I don't have a smoker, or access to smoked short ribs. Any suggestions as to a replacement? When you posted the recipe earlier, you said they were 'key,' so I never tried it, but I'm still intrigued.

                            1. re: GilaB

                              We have a Kosher grocer in our area (Hungarian Kosher in Skokie, IL) that smokes their own pastrami and other meats - they usually have ribs available. If you're in a large metropolitan area I'd imagine there are delis or Kosher grocers that do the same. If you have a grill, you should be able to smoke short ribs. As an alternative you can braise the short ribs in the oven (and maybe add a little liquid smoke) before adding them to the crockpot. Won't be the same but it definitely won't be bad.

                              1. re: ferret

                                I'm an Manhattan apartment dweller, so no grill, and I don't live particularly near a grocer who smokes their own. (Anybody know of one in Manhattan?)

                                Why do you think the braising is helpful? Don't you think they cook long, low, and slow enough in the crock pot? I understand that the smoked ribs are cooked, but I'd think that the point of the smoking is the extra flavor imparted, rather than the precooking. I certainly don't find underdone short ribs in chulent!

                                1. re: GilaB

                                  Maybe one of the pricier butchers? Le Marais or Park East?

                                  1. re: GilaB

                                    I don't know that braising in and of itself makes the difference , but if you braise with the liquid smoke the meat will absorb the flavor as opposed to just dumping liquid smoke into the crock pot, which I think may be overwhelming. I've only done it the way I've done it, so I'm apprehensive about a "throw it all in" approach. We usually smoke the ribs in advance and then they chill in the fridge for a day or two before they go into the crock pot. I think you'll get an adequate result making a one-pot meal, but the pre-cooking of the ribs has given us a great result.

                                    1. re: ferret

                                      I'm tempted to try out your recipe with these oven smoked ribs, from Mark Bittman's MInimalist column this week: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/09/din...
                                      Do you think that'd work? I have zero experience with smoking, but great faith in Bittman.

                                      1. re: GilaB

                                        Can't hurt. We did a batch midweek this week because it was so cold out. Turned out great.

                            2. For the crockpot, i often do a chicken soup with a whole chicken that I stuff with seasoned rice. I surround it with onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, dill etc.. cover it with chicken broth and cook it low overnight. It's a nice light meal with some noodles or matzo balls. The other light crockpot meal I make is to put chicken parts, with rice, chicken broth and onions. Cooked overnight on low it becomes a delicious rice porridge that's very light. I usually make it when i've fogotten to soak the beans for chulent.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: azna29

                                I've never seen the point of soaking beans for chulent. If it's cooking for a day, any beans that aren't soft weren't going to soften with an extra overnight soak at room temperature. Older beans that have sat around for a year or two don't go bad, exactly, but some of them will never soften. The only time I ever have this problem is maybe the first chulent or two of the season, made from beans that have been sitting around on my shelves since the last cool weather, and the grocer's and grower's shelves for who knows how long.

                                1. re: GilaB

                                  Isn't the purpose to remove the gassiness of the beans?

                                  1. re: cappucino

                                    I tend not to have problems on that front, but you're right, it is supposed to reduce the gassiness, as long as you dump the soaking water.

                              2. I have a few ideas of things we do, although most are with beef:
                                - Firstly what about Dafina the North African equivalent of cholent? The main ingredients are beef, eggs, chickpeas,and rice or wheat. You can check Claudia Roden for the a few recipe variations.
                                - Beef Bourguignon
                                - Moroccan chicken (essentially cut up chicken with white wine, tomatoes, corriandre, onions, garlic and a lot of saffron). Serve over couscous, which can steam in a basket on top of the dish,
                                - Lamb stew

                                1. Try searching Martha Stewart's website for "Chipotle Chicken and Rice" from the July/August Everyday Food magazine. It has become a staple in our house, and even though it calls for boneless chicken bottoms, I've used bone-in chicken bottoms, and it still came out great. It may be tricky to find kosher canned chipotle in adobo--I believe the Roland brand has a Star-K, and some cans of the Goya brand have a Mexican hechsher.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: absmiller

                                    I made this for this past Shabbos, and it came out well enough that I'd like to tweak it again for future weeks. The original recipe is here: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/c...

                                    I substituted brown rice for white, hoping that it'd hold up better in the crock pot, and used 4-5 canned plum tomatoes with their juice rather than the two fresh ones called in the recipe, given that I prefer canned to November fresh tomatoes in cooking. Although I used a red onion, and browned the chicken as called for, a white onion would have been fine, since the color difference is long gone after a day of cooking, and I don't know that the browning step made much difference in chicken cooked for that long. (I would generally brown chicken in a similar braised recipe, but I think the added color and flavor are overridden by the long cooking time.) Skipping the browning would make the prep time about a third of what it is otherwise, and saves on dirtying another pot. I also used bone-in thighs, added a bay leaf and increased the water to a total of 2 1/4 cups, which was probably about right. The rice turned to creamy mush, as expected, and the chicken had the usual falling-off-the-bone consistency one gets from overnight crock-potting, but I thought that the recipe could have used another chipotle or two, as it was a little blander than I expected. At least with the chipotles I used (Roland brand), there wasn't any heat at all in the finished product, and little of the usual smokiness. We do not like our food to be crazy spicy, but I will increase the chiles and cumin the next time I make this.

                                    1. re: GilaB

                                      I just fear that no matter what, it will be bland. We went back to the traditional cholent today and wish we hadn't...again.

                                      1. re: cappucino

                                        My usual chulent (containing a cheesecloth bag with a cinnamon stick, a star anise, and four whole cloves) isn't bland. I've had super-spicy chulents containing many hot peppers, so I know spicy is quite doable. We aren't sentenced to blandness.

                                        If you don't like chulent, why do you feel like you absolutely must have a hot dish at Shabbos lunch? I have room temperature lunches all summer, and people seem to like them well enough. Are you trying to demonstrate that you're not a Tzedoki? :)

                                        1. re: GilaB

                                          On the contrary, it's very important that you demonstrate your lack of Tzidokiosity ;-)

                                          Have you thought about turkey gumbo, in the spirit of the season?

                                          1. re: GilaB

                                            I like the idea of your cheesecloth bag and the contents. The husband doesn't like the whole blech thing and I must have hot food on Shabbos. I just don't feel Shabbosy without hot food. Truth is, I would discard the crockpot and cholent in a heartbeat in favor of piping hot kugel on a blech plus chicken and other sides (again, hotter than when perched atop the crockpot lid), but alas...

                                            1. re: GilaB

                                              I forgot the bay leaf in the bag as well.

                                            2. re: cappucino

                                              The only liquid I use in cholent is beer. No beans, but lots of garlic and paprika. I find that and a bone, a bay leaf and a squirt of ketchup makes a real difference.

                                            3. re: GilaB

                                              I made this last shabbos. I used brown jasmine rice, because I rarely use white rice for anything, a can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh, and on-the-bone thighs. Since GilaB said there was no heat with the Roland chipotles, I figured I'd double them from the called-for two to four. However, that left only one in the can, so I threw that one in, too. It was really a bit too spicy for us, and we really like spicy around here, so when I make it again--and I'm sure I will--I'll cut back to three or four. Oh, and I didn't use a crockpot; I made and left it up in a pot. Worked fine. The rice was soft, but not what I'd call mush.

                                          2. Braised lamb shanks. Recipezaar lists about 20+ ways to make them.

                                            A root vegetable stew can be good too. Carrots and rutabagas and turnips and parsnips roughly chopped up atop onions and garlic that have been fried a bit (before sundown), covered with water and baked slow in the stove. Additional flavor can come from dried fruit and apple pie spices -- apricots, raisins, cloves, cinnamon.

                                            1. I make a chicken and barley stew in the crockpot- chicken thighs with skin removed, barley, oregano, thyme, large chopped onion, chicken broth. I prefer to put in the chicken frozen, less likely to get overcooked. I know the crockpots say not to but I have never had a problem. It is delicious. Barley just holds up much better than rice in the crockpot.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Queena75

                                                The issue with putting in frozen chunks of meat is that they're likely to hang out for a long time at unsafe temperatures, so you're putting yourself at risk of food poisoning. If you're willing to risk it for slightly-less-overcooked chicken, well, it's your stomach, but you might want to warn any guests.

                                                I agree that barley holds up much better than rice, as do wheat berries.

                                                1. re: Queena75

                                                  Queena75 - do you have a recipe - i.e., how much of each ingrediant. Thanks

                                                2. It isn't a one-pot meal, but for this past Shabbos, I tried the slow-cooker jerk chicken recipe from the Chow website (link below), figuring that it's supposed to be falling off the bone anyway, so perhaps very long cooking wouldn't destroy it entirely. It came out very well, with the usual caveats about Shabbos crock pot chicken, which is always dry, even though it's immersed in sauce. I tried to start it relatively close to Shabbos (only an hour before), so as to reduce the cooking time from a day to a mere twenty hours :) The only modification that I made aside from cooking time was that after I poured the sauce over the chicken, I noticed that there wasn't enough that the top pieces were mostly submerged, so I added an extra cup or so of water. In the future, I'd probably make one and a half times as much sauce as is called for in the recipe, so as not to dilute things, but even so, it came out very flavorful, and we enjoyed it a lot. (The original recipe calls for turning the pieces every few hours so as to immerse everything in the sauce, which was obviously not an option here.) We ate on slices of challah (Mr. GilaB) or with a fork (me) rather than on the called-for crusty rolls, and we each shredded our own chicken at the table rather than me doing it in the kitchen beforehand. Mr. GilaB mourns a Shabbos without chulent, yet was extremely enthusiastic about this chicken. I didn't think it was quite as amazing as he did, but enjoyed it and would make it again.

                                                  The recipe is here: http://www.chow.com/recipes/27788

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: GilaB

                                                    Thanks. We continue to make a very boring veal stew over here. I will try your idea.

                                                  2. Here is the recipe for our Indian Cholent (we leave it in our crock pot over night, with a little extra water added and it is great the next day).
                                                    a.k.a. Winter Curry from the Moosewood Restaurant New Classics cook book

                                                    1 1/2 T vegetable oil
                                                    1/2 t black mustard seeds
                                                    1 1/2 c chopped onions
                                                    3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
                                                    1 T grated fresh ginger root
                                                    2 t ground cumin
                                                    2 t ground corriander
                                                    1/2 t ground cardamom
                                                    1/2 t salt
                                                    1/4 t cayenne
                                                    4 cups cubed potatoes
                                                    4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (I use frozen)
                                                    1 1/2 c vegetable or mock chicken stock
                                                    1 T tamarind concentrate
                                                    2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
                                                    15 oz can drained chickpeas
                                                    2 T chopped cilantro

                                                    cooked rice
                                                    plain yogurt, cilantro sprigs, toasted cashews, mango slices, mango chutney, raisins (optional toppings)

                                                    In a 3-4 quart saucepan, heat the oil on med-high heat, and then add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, stir in the onions and saute until translucent about 10 min.

                                                    Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, cumin , coriander, cardamom, salt and cayenne. When the onions are translucent, add the spice mixture and cook for 1 minute stirring constantly. Add the potatoes, squash, and stock and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer until the vegetables are barely tender about 15 minutes.

                                                    In a small bowl, dissolve the tamarind in a few tablespoons of hot cooking liquid and then stir it into the vegetables. Add the tomoatoes, chickpeas, cilantro. Cover and simmer for about 10 min or put it in your crock pot on low overnight with a little extra water.

                                                    Serve on rice topped with any or all of the suggested garnishes.

                                                    6 Replies
                                                    1. re: mamaleh

                                                      cappucino, does your oven have Shabbos mode? If so, you can make something yummy that has high fat content (i.e. probably a meat-based dish, but I have also successfully done this with cheese lasagna!) and double-wrap it in two layers of aluminum foil (this is to help prevent any moisture from evaporating, a crucial step in preventing dried out/miserably overcooked Shabbos food), then put it in the back of the oven on the lowest temp. of shabbos mode. On my oven that is 170 degrees. This is enough to keep food warm, but definitely not to cook it any further. As a professional chef and foodie, I got really tired and frustrated by good food turning to overcooked bland mush by Shabbos lunch. This solution avoided that. Fatty cuts of lamb and beef work best, but the dish can vary - from an exotic lamb stew (coriander seed, cumin, garlic, spinach, coconut milk, etc.) to a southern BBQ rib dish to more traditional classics - try it. I got rid of my crockpot years ago, and I gave away my blech. They both burn and overcook food terribly, and I would find myself full of anxiety on Shabbat as I smelled the burn or overcooking setting in. Now I know exactly how the food will come out because it basically tastes exactly the same as when I put it in the oven the day before. Hope this helps!

                                                      1. re: rebeccafriedman

                                                        It sounds great, but we have a 14-year old double oven that doesn't even self-clean. No plans for a reno. We just pray that that nothing breaks anytime soon. But, I will put it in the memory bank.

                                                        1. re: rebeccafriedman

                                                          So after you take the food out of the oven, it's still on (at 170)? I realize that people observe shabbos differently, but I know I've been told that you cannot open an oven that is actually on, and if you do, you certainly shouldn't close it. For me anyway, that would rule out using the oven as you are describing. I guess everyone has to do as they typically observe halacha.

                                                          I do, in fact, use the Shabbos mode--to keep things which were fully cooked by the time Shabbos began, warm until the Friday night meal, by setting the oven to shut off just before I am ready to serve the meal. Therefore, it's not still on when I take the food out. (I also use it to keep the oven on for all of yom tov, but on yom tov you are allowed to cook, so there there's no issue with the opening and closing of the door.)

                                                          1. re: queenscook

                                                            Is shabbos mode on an oven just a timer? I also have an old oven but will probablybuy a new one soon so wondering what to look for.

                                                            1. re: azna29

                                                              'Sabbath mode' is mostly a misnomer, as it really makes the oven easier to use on yom tov rather than Shabbos per se. Many new ovens have a safety feature that kicks the oven off after a certain number of hours, even though you might want to leave it on for two days of yom tov. Also, if the oven has a light that turns on when you open the door, Sabbath mode keeps that light off.

                                                              1. re: azna29

                                                                As Gila says, Shabbos mode is more useful for yom tov, but the timer feature is useful to keep food warm for Friday night. I use it to keep food warmer than it might keep on a blech, and especially when I am tight for space on the blech. The important part of the shabbos mode over the oven's standard timer is that the warning buzzer will not beep in shabbos mode, which it otherwise would if you just use the standard timer feature.

                                                                For yom tov, the other feature that is helpful is that the shabbos mode replaces the temperature screen with a stationary symbol, so you can raise and lower the temperature without the screen changing, which is a problem for some of us.

                                                        2. Cholent should NEVER be boring. There are so many possibilities. Whether it is the cholent itself that you change up a little, or the accompanying dishes, Shabbat lunch is a great meal.
                                                          Lately, I have used wheatberries instead of beans and barley. The constistency of the cholent is completely different.
                                                          Or you can change the liquid that the cholent cooks in. Wine, beer, even adding a little Coke to the liquid will give you a different taste.
                                                          Or you can change the meat; use pastrami instead of flanken. Or turkey. Or skip the meat altogether.
                                                          Or you can use chicken quarters and lots of cut up vegetables and water/tomato sauce/chicken broth. You will have what we call chicken stew. Delectable. And no beans.
                                                          the cholent pot is a great place to experiment.
                                                          Have a wonderful shabbos and betayavon!

                                                          1. We love pollo baghali with morgh - it's a persian dish with rice, chicken and broad beans. It's kind of a one-pot recipe -you need to prepare stuff beforehand in a skillet and a pan, but then we put it in the crockpot erev shabbos and have it shabbos lunch - delicious. The recipe I use is at http://cecs.anu.edu.au/files/baghali_... (it's not particularly well written, but does the trick)

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Lolypop

                                                              OK, we love persian food. Could you give more detail about how you prepare this for Shabbos in the crockpot?

                                                            2. I think Brunswick Stew fits the bill. I don't have a crock pot. I make the recipe in a cast iron pot and after an hour it;s really done but needs a lot more time to make the flavors come alive.

                                                              For Shabbat, I place an overturned cast iron skillet over the burner (I have a glasstop stove) and the "cholent" pot on top. We serve it over steamed white rice, you could use brown. Rice is easy to heat on Shabbat on the blech.

                                                              Here's my basic recipe, I jut use whatever meat/chicken I have leftover in my freezer. Sometimes I roast a chicken and shred it. http://www.thekosherchannel.com/bruns... We also serve it with hot sauce.

                                                              It's a great change from cholent.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Gila Davids

                                                                do you think the recipe would still work in a crock-pot?
                                                                I usually make chili, but would like a change as well.

                                                                1. re: lenchik

                                                                  Unstuffed cabbage in a crockpot.We used to have that in our shul in NY. 10 min to put together.

                                                                    1. re: vallevin

                                                                      YEAH! Recipe PLZ!!!!! It would probably be awesome served with a side of tofutti sour cream:) Is it smelly?

                                                              2. Thoughts on sticking a brisket or similar cut in a crockpot with I don't know? Any recipe would do.

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: craigcep

                                                                  Yes, 2nd cut briskets, Short ribs (flanken), naval cut and even beef cheeks.....all great choices of meat for a perfectly juicy cholent. They all great cuts for the long low and slow cook. A great salami or kielbasa couldn't hurt either. Also bones=flavor!!!! Smoked meats also add a ton of flavor....check out my smoker pix attached, these 2nd cut briskets are destined to end their lines making a Texas Cholent the holiest grub in town.
                                                                  As for the rest, check out robocop's words of wisdom above. It's ALL good. I have been a chef cooking here in New York for the last 6 years, and with at least 1/2 a million servings produced so far, I can tell you this....we've never made a cholent the same way twice.
                                                                  After your meats are chosen, add your pre-soaked or canned beans, peeled potato and onions, 3/4 bag of barley, ketchup and/or whatever sauces, bbq, teriyaki whatever. Go to town with you favorite spices. I also second the above suggestions of soda...Dr. Pepper being my favorite. Don't forget your kishke and you are in good shape.... l"SK

                                                                2. FYI, I just tried adding old-fashioned crusty farfel to my veal stew in a crockpot and it was a great addition. It added heft without gas, soaked up the flavors quite nicely.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cappucino

                                                                    The Polish Yidden would add matzah meal mixture (use the same instructions as on the box for the balls) and add it to the cholent. They call it the "Gannif" Yiddish for "theif", because it sucks up all the juices. I like to use it when cooking old school in a crock pot. I add it last and it acts to seal the top of the cholent. No barley is necessary then. I like to lay my slices of Kishke above that and then they bake and get crispy between the Ghanif and the glass dome. All that Shmaltzky kishke goodness drips down into the cholent still, but after the whole thing is mixed up you still get that bite of just kishke, it doesn't just fall apart and and disappear into the cholent bouquet of goodness. Same good heft without the gas.

                                                                    1. re: gotcholent

                                                                      Wow, gotcholent, That sounds interesting. I wish I could ask my Polish grandmother about it. I did grow up with her and she never did this. I love the idea of it and will try it this Shabbos. Thanks.

                                                                    2. re: cappucino

                                                                      Over many years of experimenting (we cook at least 1000 servings a week) I have tried just about everything I can get my hands on. The problem I've found with things like farfel, or egg barley, Israeli couscous and the like, is they just totally disintegrate over the 20 hour cooking period a cholent has to last over the winters. Kamut, Farro, Spelt and Quinoa are all great substitutions. the latter three also have the advantage of being basically gluten-free. We use Quinoa in all of the vegetarian orders...as it cooks and absorbs the lovely cholent juices they expand and end up with the consistency of little ground beef bits (Also protein packed for the Vegetarians in the crowd)

                                                                      1. re: gotcholent

                                                                        I hear you on the farfel, but I will never be a quinoa person. I do not like the consistency or the taste. I will remain woefully unhip and unhealthy.

                                                                    3. My favorite super light chulent has turkey drumsticks or thighs (skin removed), sweet potatoes, wheat berries, a whole head of garlic unpeeled, 1-2 onions, and chickpeas if you want beans. I love a turkey chukent. It is richer and more flavored than chicken chulent without the heaviness of meat.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Rlocker

                                                                        The un-cholent. Tomato chicken. Really fast and unfussy to make, delicious, and not cholent at all.

                                                                        Into corckpot put:

                                                                        1 large onion, sliced or 2 small onions, quartered
                                                                        4 pieces chicken with skin, or skinned and add 1 tablespoon chicken fat
                                                                        1/2 cup whole wheat berries
                                                                        1 box chopped tomatoes in juice (26 oz.)
                                                                        1 tsp. cumin
                                                                        1 or 2 dried red peppers, crumbled. (you know how hot you like it)
                                                                        1 tsp. garlic (optional)

                                                                        This serves 4, multiply as needed.

                                                                        Turn crockpot to high and simmer just long enough to cook the chicken, turn the crockpot to low, and and forget about it.

                                                                        Hot lunch, not boring, no sauteeing, almost no work at all, no extra pots to wash. It's really good and a refreshing change of pace.

                                                                      2. I made dafina (Moroccan chulent) this past Shabbos, as discussed here, with recipe link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/768900
                                                                        I enjoyed it and would make it again. It contains beans, violating cappucino's specifications in the OP, but it's different enough from the usual that I thought it worth mentioning in this thread as well.

                                                                        1. I just cooked up a braised turkey leg dish for shabbat. It was a big hit with everyone. Could be done in a slow cooker or on the stove on low overnight. http://hindycooks.blogspot.com/2011/0...

                                                                          1. I know this is an old discussion, but just wanted to share a recent success story in the Not Cholent department (after many, many failures). Southwestern Pulled Brisket from Food Network: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fo...

                                                                            I left it in the slow cooker from Friday afternoon until 2 PM on Shabbat, and although my kitchen had that tell-tale "cholenty" smell, the meat inside was still pink and delicious once shredded. The outside of the piece of brisket was blackened somewhat, but once shredded and mixed with a little barbecue sauce, it was the perfect sandwich filling. I served it with coleslaw, pickles and French rolls for my guests to make sandwiches.

                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                            1. re: DevorahL

                                                                              Wow! Questions:

                                                                              Did you start cold? i.e., did you brown the meat, then chill (or everything before starting the cooker?
                                                                              Did you follow recipe exactly?

                                                                              I admire your perseverance because I have also tried many, many approaches to a hot lunch, with a lot of mediocre results.

                                                                              1. re: AdinaA

                                                                                I didn't chill the meat after browning, although that probably isn't a bad idea. (Anything that can safely slow the cooking process is worth a try!) I browned the meat, removed it, sauteed the onions and seasonings in the pan drippings, and then added it to the crockpot. I think I followed the recipe more or less exactly, although I probably added a little more of every spice than the recipe called for (long cooking makes for blaaaand food, in my experience.)

                                                                                I will say that the results were good by the low bar set by my previous attempts at cholent and cholent-type dishes. If I was making this during the week I would cook it a lot less! The pickles and slaw were essential--the meat really needs some bright, acidic flavors to perk it up. But it was polished off, and I got rave reviews!

                                                                                1. re: DevorahL

                                                                                  did you do a specific slaw, or just a standard- definitely going to try this

                                                                                  1. re: shoelace

                                                                                    I didn't follow a recipe. Just tossed some shredded red cabbage with slivered vegetables (peppers, snap peas, carrots, etc) with a strong vinegar-based dressing and let it marinate for a few minutes. I don't like creamy coleslaws, and I think the crunch and tartness go well with the meat.

                                                                                  2. re: DevorahL

                                                                                    Thx. Definitely doing this whole menu. Sounds like a fun sort of meal - for kids and grownups.

                                                                                2. re: DevorahL

                                                                                  I'd like to ask anyone who may know about these things, how tender is "pulled beef" that I see in so many recipes recently?

                                                                                  I'm always so careful to cut meat across the grain, and my crowd complains if the meat is stringy. It's harder to chew.

                                                                                  I have to say that my briskets are always yummy and tender, but I can't imagine they'd be just as good pulled apart into strings. I may try it first with part of a brisket and see how it goes.

                                                                                  1. re: helou

                                                                                    You're cooking it a lot longer so it's fork tender.

                                                                                    1. re: helou

                                                                                      It's a completely different texture than meat that is supposed to be carved into slices. It is very soft and moist, so it basically "shreds" as you cut it, and many recipes have you mix in another sauce after cooking (like BBQ sauce or something similar) so you are left with a "scoopable" moist shredded mixture. It many not sound appetizing described like that :) but it is delicious, casual and fun.