As a vegan who loves cholent, I have experimented with many different combinations of ingredients and seasonings to get the best "betcha can't tell it's pareve" cholent.
Saute a large onion and several cloves of garlic in a nice amount of oil until golden. Wheatberries, barley (and any other beans you like) and potatoes cut in chunks. Let that all saute together for a few minutes and season with onion soup mix, and osem pareve consomme, about 1/4 cup duck sauce and a good sprinkle of Frank's Hot Sauce. Add water and taste to make sure the water is boldly flavored.
I put it in the oven overnight at 250 degrees, but it would be fine in a c rock pot also.
Adding kishka or any kind of kugel would be delicious also.
Our family favorite:
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
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.
I have made Meatless Cholent many times by simply leaving out the meat - I love barley, potatos and beans - I also am able to get a pareve kishke that I put on top.
I also love the ideas about the bullion cubes and prunes - also might check there is a pareve beef broth that is rather tasty that I have used for French Onion Soup -
Just make it with Osem powdered beef soup mix in addition to your normal spices and add a little slurry to thicken it. I make vegetarian cholent every so often.
I also like to add hard boiled eggs to my cholent, so there's your protein (you said vegetarian, not vegan, right?). Just make sure it's fully covered with liquid, otherwise the white turns unchewable. Serve as a separate course, with jachnun (also cooked in the cholent) and tomato dip (throw 2 large tomatoes in a blender with 3 or 4 large cloves of garlic, liquefy, season with salt and pepper to taste), or serve the egg floating in the cholent (that's how my toddler likes to eat his).
Jachnun recipe: http://www.cookadvice.com/recipes/jachnun-53821-recipe.htm
Jachnun service suggestion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jachnun
That's what my mother said they used to eat on Shabbosim they couldn't afford chicken.
re: The Cameraman
re: The Cameraman
I'd really like to try jachnun and I was wondering how you put it in the chulent. Do you just wrap it in foil or parchment raw and put it on top? I was planning to make the jachnun in a separate pot in the oven (I make my chulent on the stove or in a crock pot) and then I came across your comment. Any details you could give me would be great.