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Oct 25, 2012 06:59 AM

forward thinking cholent recipes

there is not much more old school hymish than cholent what does everybody think we can add to our cholent to jazz it up and make it more modern? looking for easy home ideas.

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  1. All I can offer here is the Cuban-style cholent I tried to make a few years ago. I will not repeat that mistake again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rockycat

      I've done Cuban-style pretty successfully. More of a black-bean stew than a cholent. We smoke our own short ribs and add to the mix. Great served with rice.

    2. Take out the potatoes. Add chili powder.

      1. As per my post above we do a fair amount of smoking. In addition to smoked short ribs, smoked turkey legs add a nice kick to a regular cholent. Also there's been a resurgence in Kosher sausage varieties recently, many of which will add flavor and variety to cholent. Neshama has a couple of beef & lamb sausages that you can add to any recipe in large chunks. The Jack's are okay but they are more like flavored hot dogs than true sausage. In Chicago we are lucky enough to have some good sausage options from Romanian.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ferret

          Smoked turkey thigh is even better in cholent.

        2. People dont vary their recipe much after they perfect their blend, but there are little things that you could do.
          1. Add Marrow Bones if you dont already. Alternatively you could also use ribs,they impart a different more beefy flavor.
          2. Change up the spices. Keep the base (garlic, chopped onion, paprika, chili powder), and add curry / cumin / mustard seed / and a drop of ground red pepper.
          3. A little sweetness is good to offset the chili, I started using light brown sugar, it has a deeper flavor than other sugars.

          1. Ugh, that reminds me. I am having the NCSY crowd over for oneg Friday night. That means I need to put my cholent up tonight so it will be ready by 9 pm. It's an NCSY thing. Personally the thought of eating cholent for dessert sounds revolting.

            14 Replies
            1. re: SoCal Mother

              I find the thought of eating most cholent revolting. But that's a personal thing. :-)

              Good luck with the horde.

              1. re: rockycat

                It's 7 am. I am getting dressed for work and getting my son up for school and MY WHOLE HOUSE SMELLS OF CHOLENT. That's just plain weird.

                PS To CW Silverberg, I am sorry for hijacking your thread. I really do make very good cholent, just not very "forward thinking." My trick is to add much more water than most folks would do and then run the crockpot on high. Otherwise it's just the usual blend of potatoes, short ribs, onions, barley, (optional) red beans and lots of cumin. To serve it for NCSY, start it Thursday evening...

                1. re: SoCal Mother

                  thanks for keeping the post going this is great, but im looking for more forward thinking like a lamb curry/coconut milk based cholent. how well would it stand up in a crockpot cokking on low for twenty hours? any other ideas?

                  1. re: cwsilverberg

                    How about a tagine with the couscous already in there?

                    1. re: cwsilverberg

                      I have never tried to do a coconut based cholent but these are the things I would look out for:
                      Coconut milk does not do well when cooked with other fats or acids. they wont emulsify so the sauce might look separated. I wouldnt use a marrow bone or kishka when making this cholent. It also doesnt do well with long cooking periods. You might have to add a little more at the end to brighten the dish, in color and flavor.
                      I would use coconut milk in the liquid as a component, maybe supplement it with water, stock, etc, keeping in mind i will add a little coconut milk at the end. Any citrus zest, lemongrass, ginger (not too much, spicy) etc will go well with the coconut.
                      With regard to a forward thinking cholent as a topic, while I am a slave to the classic when it comes to cholent ( I like a creamy barlye based cholent, low and slow, no cumin..ugh), using a different grain besides barley such as quinoia or maybe a wheatberry feels like the way to go. The liquid needs far all grains will be different, just make sure it is nice and creamy.

                      1. re: KosherChef

                        Had a Rebbe growing up who, being ahead of his time, served a "deconstructed" cholent, with only the meat and potatoes cooked together overnight and the barley, beans and other mix-ins served in separate bowls at the table, so everyone could set their own proportions. No reason you couldn't employ this methodology to more unconventional preparations.

                        1. re: ferret

                          We sometimes replace the beef with lamb neck bones. Comes out great. We also dont use any beans as my wife is allergic, so its barley, potatoes and onions, and whatever seasoning my wife puts in.

                          1. re: ferret

                            I don't think this approach works for cholent. The point of cholent and other stews is to use a small amount of meat to flavor the beans/barley that provide the substance. If you cook the beans and barley separately you lose that.

                            1. re: avitrek

                              It works very well. You don't just make a bland pot of barley, it's seasoned during cooking and the cholent mixture does have a "gravy" of sorts.

                            2. re: ferret

                              Wow, I never considered myself as a forward-thinking cook before, but apparently I've been making a "deconstructed" cholent forever (probably over 45 years). I concocted this method to accomodate members of my family that didn't like one or another ingredient (mainly beans).
                              For the bottom layer, I divide the bottom of the pot in half - pre-soaked lima beans on one half, barley on the other. Next layer, is seasoned flanken (salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika), then diced onions - mixed with some flour, salt & pepper. On top of this go the potatoes, seasoned like the meat, covered with more of the onion-flour mixture.
                              Add water around the edges of the pot, to around 1 inch below the top of the potatoes. Bring to a full boil on high, then switch to low setting.
                              To serve - carefully put the potatoes, meat, barley and beans each in separate bowls.

                              1. re: ferret

                                That is like Moroccan style. I had that at my friend for Shabbos as he and his wife are Moroccan. I think it was made with rice, not barley. Each component is wrapped in a cheesecloth bag and all the bags are placed together in one pot.

                              2. re: KosherChef

                                Kosherchef: All you need is a pad thai kugel to go with it!

                                1. re: mamaleh

                                  Do you have a recipe for that or just making a joke? It would finally be a noodle kugel I'd want to eat. I don't like the sweet or peppery ones.

                                  1. re: CloggieGirl

                                    Totally serious, but I haven't tried a recipe yet. Got to thinking it would make a fun Shabbat dinner after a great meal at Beverley Hills Thai. Started to google some, and looks like there are some recipes out there.